Staff of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) in the Volta region on Wednesday embarked on street float in the regional capital, to outdoor the newly introduced Mobile Membership Renewal Service.
The staff drawn from the Regional office and nearby district offices clad in branded T-shirts and marched through the principal streets of Ho amidst brass band music to announce the new mobile short code, *929# through which the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) subscribers can conveniently renew their membership using their mobile phones.
Led by the Regional Director, Mr. Joseph Homenya and other management members, the enthusiastic staff marched briskly from the Volta Regional Hospital taxi rank, through the Housing road to Asigame (central market), Raymakossa traffic light to Civic centre, Post office junction to Ministries before rounding up at the premises of NHIA Regional office on the Old traffic to SIC road.
The national launch of the mobile renewal service which was done concurrently by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on behalf of the president, also coincided with the 15th anniversary of the introduction of the NHIS by the erstwhile Kufuor administration in 2003.
Speaking on the significance of the new service, the Regional Director said, the introduction of the mobile renewal system has ushered the health insurance scheme into a whole new era of efficient and convenient service delivery to its clients.
He said the *929# affords the over 10 million active NHIS subscribers nationwide to renew their scheme membership using any kind of mobile phone across all networks, without having to travel and spend long hours at the district offices just to do so.
The service, according to Mr. Homenya will also give subscribers constant reminders through SMS on the expiration of their members, among other benefits it provides both the authority and health care providers also well.
He thus, entreated NHIA staff to intensify public education to ensure its patronage in order to reduce the high turnouts at the offices for renewal.
Prior to the launch, management of NHIA in the region joined by some officials from the national head office had engagements with some key stakeholders, including the Regional minister, the media and traditional authorities to brief them on how the mobile renewal service works.
Togbe Adzie Lakle Howusu, chief of Ho Dome and Warlord of the Asogli state, expressed excitement about the service after he was briefed by the NHIA Deputy Director in charge of Corporate Affairs, Mr Oswald Esuah-Mensah.
He described the NHIS mobile renewal service as a game changer, which will bring much relieve to subscribers who in some instances virtually sleep over at the NHIA offices just to renew their membership.
He thus threw his support for the service and pledged to lead sensitization about it among his fellow traditional leaders, stating that, “this is a very good initiative which must be made work.”
Similarly, the Volta regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Letsa expressed delight about the innovation and was optimistic it would also help check fraud in the system as it will afford the scheme to verify claims submitted by service providers from subscribers and only pay for services that are provided.