Accra, Aug. 17, GNA – The National Pensioners Association, under the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), have launched their 25th Anniversary with a call on Government to enhance post-retirement healthcare in the country.
Mr Edward Ameyibor, the General Secretary of the Association, who made the call in Accra, said the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Organised Labour, SSNIT and the age-related advocacy groups must see the urgent need for a better post-retirement healthcare and National Endowment Fund to support the aged in case of catastrophic diseases.
‘During this Silver Jubilee, we intend to give more visibility to the Association and bring to the public front burner, issues of ageing and the support we expect from government,’ he said.
It is on the theme: ‘Mobilizing Pensioners towards A better and Healthy life.’
Mr Ameyibor said the support for the health needs of the aged was necessary to reduce the humiliation suffered by families through frequent public appeals for help.
He said from September, this year, members of the Association would, in addition to their previous benefits, receive GH¢300.00 as support per annum for drugs purchased from designated pharmacies across the country.
Mr Ameyibor said it was time government and SSNIT supported the Pensioners Medical Scheme (PMS), adding that whatever indexation pensioners received now ended up at the pharmacy and with medical inflation.
‘We all know how heavy the burden has been and will continue to be, so your assistance is very much needed,’ he said.
Mr Ameyibor, however, said though the PSM had taken off well and was providing great support to members, it would be laudable if Government showed interest in pensioners’ health care.
‘So far we are in partnership with 63 governments and faith based hospitals and we have issued 25,000 cards to members to access health care, government’s intervention is much needed,’ he said.
The PMS, which supports members in case of health emergencies, especially prostate problems from which 68 per cent of their male members were being handled at various stages, is one of the group’s biggest achievements.
It takes care of the gynecological cancers of the women and provide reading glasses for members, he said.
He lauded the Wenchi Methodist Hospital for assisting more than 90 of their members with prostate ailments at a minimum cost and educating them on urology through town hall health talks.
Mr Ameybor acknowledged SSNIT for its support and co-operation over the years for accommodating the National Pensioners Association (NPA) in all its regional and some district offices, paying electricity and water bills as well as providing initial furniture for members’ usage.
‘We are also grateful that they have co-operated with us and increased the annual indexation from the miserable GH¢52.00 for the least paid pensioner in 2009 with the new least paid pensioner getting GH¢269.00 a month while the fresh least paid pensioner also gets GH¢276.00,’ he said.
Mr Michael Addo, the Deputy Director General of SSNIT, pledged better services for members of the NPA adding that from January to July this year, SSNIT had paid over 1.2 billion pensioners’ benefits.
‘With 182 pensioners under our care, we have also paid benefits of about 184 million to beneficiaries in July,’ he said.
Going into the future, Mr Addo assured members of good facilities such as the building of a social centre in the districts that would help ensure quality engagement among members.
‘Your welfare is paramount to us, that is why we have taken measures to ensure speed and good services like pensioners priority desk at our offices to attend to you speedily,’ he said,
Members in the various regions would start their respective celebrations next week for the four-month long anniversary, to be climaxed in December.
The launch saw a procession by members on some principal streets of Accra to draw public attention to issues on age and pensioners.
By Elsie Appiah-Osei /Mr William Fiabu, GNA