The Asante Development Union (ADU) has launched a crusade to compel the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to suspend the implementation of the health capitation in Ashanti.

The group, joined by the Asante Students Union, embarked on a demonstration on Friday to challenge the policy implementation.

The demonstrators, clad in red and black, marched through some principal streets of Kumasi’s central business district amidst brass band music and blazing sounds from a public address system.

They wailed and sung, wielding placards, some of which read: “Capitation is ungodly”, “Capitation is killing us”, “Sylvester must be sacked”, and “Capitation must be suspended”.

The groups later converged at the Ashanti regional office of the NHIA to present a petition to the Authority, calling for the immediate withdrawal of the policy to make room for adequate education and consensus building.

Coordinator of the ADU, Edmond Oppong-Peprah reiterated the reservation of the Union in the piloting of the capitation in Ashanti region.

“Understanding of the policy is very minimal,” he noted, adding that “the policy is complex and technical and therefore requires much understanding before starting. This has led to a lot of confusion in the health delivery system. Currently the region is practicing core payment and cash and carry system”.

The Society of Private Medical and Dental Practitioners and the Ghana Registered Midwives Association have refused to accept patients with NHIS cards effective 1st February 2012.

“Stakeholders should be brought on board for consensus building, proper education done and a smaller sample chosen before the re-introduction of the policy could be considered,” stated Mr. Oppong-Peprah.

The demonstrators called on parliamentarians, traditional authorities and other interest groups to prevail on the NHIA to salvage the precarious health situation in Ashanti.

They will continue demonstrating until the policy is withdrawn.