Some residents of Tema have appealed to government to increase the number of National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS) offices in the metropolis to address the problem of long queues.
The residents, who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on Wednesday, said they wake up as early as 0300 hours to join long queues just to register or to renew their health insurance cards.
Mr Jacob Amankwa told the GNA that being in the queue was not a guarantee of getting the card. ‘’This is the struggle we have to go through just to renew or register for our health insurance cards, mind you it is not free, we actually pay for it yet one needs to join a long queue, fight and struggle for days before you can get your card’’.
‘’I think the Government should decentralize the registration process to every district in the country to avoid this crowd and fights,’’ he said. Desmond Yatopo, who claimed he joined the queue as early as 0300 hours, was frustrated that he was nowhere near the front as at 1400 hours.
‘’I came as early as 0300 hours but it is almost 1400 hours and I am still here, if you ask them why the queue is not moving they only tell you their system is down. I have other things to do but my whole day is wasted,” he said. “Some people came late but they passed behind to go for their cards. I am only here to renew my card, the people in there are not working according to the numbers they gave out’’, Ms Jennifer Odai lamented.
An official of the Tema NHIS office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the increasing number of people was putting a lot of pressure on them. Besides, some of the computers being used for the process are very slow and do not help enhance smooth processing of the registration cards, the source said.
When questioned about persons jumping the queue to register, the source reluctantly said: ‘’That is undeniable, you know sometimes people very close to you come here to register and they expect you to do them a favour by helping them skip the queue and you cannot say no to them, you know.’’
He urged government and top officials at the National Health Insurance Scheme to help reduce the long queues.