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Continuous expansion of NHIS will ensure quality, affordable healthcare – Director

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) can ensure quality, accessible and affordable healthcare only through continuous expansion.

Mr Fred Appiah, Central Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), who stated this at a stakeholders’ engagement in the Gomoa District NHIS at Apam noted it was only continuous expansion that can put Ghana on the radar above her counterparts in the West Sub-Region in the pursuit of Universal Health Care (UHC) by 2030.

The meeting under the theme: “Using the Ghana Card for Expanding Access to Healthcare, the Role of stakeholders,” was attended by stakeholders of the Scheme including, Assembly members, Ghana Health Service, Ghana education Service and Service providers.

It discussed the roles of stakeholders in expanding access to healthcare through the NHIS and the usage of the Ghana card.

The Gomoaman NHIA, covers three administrative and political districts, (Gomoa West, Gomoa East and Gomoa Central, with a population of 521,819 according to the 2021 Population and Housing Census.

Mr Appiah informed the gathering that the NHIA-Ghana Card linkage was to allow NHIS registered members to use the Ghana Card to access healthcare service under the Scheme, saying the benefit of the collaboration include synchronization of data for a much cleaner database.

He charged the stakeholders to inform their community members on the need to link their NHIS and Ghana cards before proceeding to the hospital, added that children under 15 years and pregnant women must however continue to use their NHIS cards to access healthcare until further notice.

According to Mr Appiah, Ghana’s goal was to achieve the UHC by 2030 was hinged on the NHIS with a benchmark of least 80 percent of the country’s population to be enrolled unto the Scheme by the targeted year.

“The year 2030 is just eight years away hence, there is urgent need for innovative strategies on all fronts including all stakeholders if the county must achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), of the UHC”, he stated.

According to Mr Appiah, the bi-partisan goodwill and commitment, sustainable innovation, progressive financial model among others was the secret behind Ghana’s success in sustaining the NHIS, which undoubtedly was one of the essential tools for attaining the UHC.

The Regional Director informed the gathering that, despite its challenges , there was no doubt that, the NHIS had given access to many people who have been denied healthcare in various forms due to their inability to pay for the services needed .

As part of the digitalization effort, the NHIS has embarked on some important solution-based interventions aimed at increasing the scheme membership and to make the NHIS subscriber happy, he indicated.

Key among the current innovations was the NHIS Mobile Renewal Service which allowed subscribers to renew their membership anywhere, anytime on their mobile phones , using the short code “929#, he announced.

Mr. Appiah further stated that, the Mobile Renewal Service had catapulted the total membership to 25,358,957 with an active membership of 16,759,358 of which Central Region contributed 1,269,478 at the end of 2021, with majority of them being females.

“Since the introduction of the NHIS, it has grown to become a major instrument for financing healthcare delivery,” he noted adding that currently, the Scheme contributed more than 85 percent of service delivery income of public and quasi-public health care facilities.

The benefit package of the Scheme, which covers 95 percent of diseases in the country with 521 medicines in the approved medicine list, now included breast, cervical and four child cancers and family planning services, he added.

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