Tarkwa (WR) Nov.11, GNA - The National Pensioners Association (NPA) has officially launched its Silver Jubilee anniversary in Tarkwa in the western region on the theme “Mobilising pensioners for a healthy and better Life”.
The association was formed in 1992 by a group of pensioners mostly trade unionists and former SSNIT workers to fight for better pension, help each other in times of need, promote the SSNIT scheme to win more members to the scheme and to also engage in business activities that would enhance the fortunes of the association.
Mr Edward Ameyibor, General Secretary of NAP (SSNIT) who launched the anniversary said “25 years in the life of an association may seem long or short depending on who is looking, but for especially an old person’s association it is significant”.
He paid a glowing tribute to the founding fathers of the association and announced that only two of them were still alive and hinted that the association would honour the early members with citations and plaques to encourage those serving the association now to realise that hard would leave footprints in the sands of time and others would come to salute their memory.
Touching on the theme, Mr Ameyibor pointed out that “good health is better than riches and that what will it benefit a man if he should amass wealth only to spend everything in hospital or at the pharmacy”.
He said it was based on this that the association decided to establish the Pensioners Medical scheme (PMS) under which each member contributed 48 cedis a year to support a mutual health scheme for pensioners, “it is a pensioners initiative, second only to a similar scheme in South Africa”.
Mr Ameyibor said the scheme was established in 2014 and that they have signed partnership agreements with 64 government and faith based hospitals to treat their members suffering from prostrate, a top killer disease among men, provided spectacles and help with gynaecological cancers.
He said more than 100 of their members have benefited from prostrate surgeries and its related problems and that female members had also been supported with gynaecological cancers including one breast amputation, while many have received free spectacles and eye treatment especially in the north.
The General Secretary announced that physiotherapy had also been introduced into the list of benefits, and that stroke patients would receive 12 visits free of charge, adding that they were still at various stages of negotiations with 61 other hospitals and health care centres.
Mr Ameyibor stated that the association had adopted a three-year strategic development plan to make the association a modern association and was hopeful that it would result in an annual grow membership of about 20 percent.
According to him, some districts were helping themselves adding that the Bekwai members had built a community centre, with Kumawu projects underway, whiles in the Brong Ahafo region, Techniman and Wenchi members were building recreational centres and offices for rent, with the Hohoe members almost completing their project.
He said several other branches were in the hospitality renting services, such as chairs, tables, canopies, table cloth, sound system and cold stores.
Mr Ameyibor commended SSNIT for undertaking to support some of their projects, adding that in “the past 25 years SSNIT had been a reliable partner, paying pensioners regularly and on schedule, building a recreational centre for us in Accra, part of which is our national headquarters, supporting us with vehicles and office furniture and accommodation in all the 10 regional offices and some districts for which we do not pay rent, electricity or water bills”
He said they were also in cooperation with the TUC towards a more enhanced post-retirement health care and a national health endowment fund to support citizens in critical health situations which needed huge financial resources.
Other activities to mark the anniversary would include; the awards of 25 pensioners who have performed distinguished services to the NPA-SSNIT.
In the Western region, four pensioners were honoured during the launch.
They are; Mr James Bernasko, 82 for his pioneering work in establishing the Tarkwa branch, Mr Francis Quansah , first regional secretary, Mrs Mavis Nkrumah , regional women organizer and Mrs Grace Peace Fraikue ,regional secretary and member of the National executive Council.