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Ghana to attain universal health coverage by 2030 – NHIA

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The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has projected that Ghana is likely to attain universal health coverage before the year 2030.

According to the Chief Executive of the NHIA, Dr. Da-Costa Aboagye, the innovative and robust measures being implemented under his watch, which include the new preventive health care measure that will soon become part of the NHIS claim package and will allow every Ghanaian on the scheme to visit the hospital for a medical checkup on their birthdays, will help in the attainment of universal health care.

Dr. Da-Costa Aboagye, who spoke to the media in Koforidua, said the move is to reduce the cost burden on clients and the country as a whole.

“To achieve universal health coverage, you see there are things you need to do. So far, over our 20-year history, the NHIS 20-year history, it has been curative. So curative means that you get sick before you go to the hospital. But we believe that the rise of noncommunicable diseases like hypertension contributes a lot to our claims about diabetes.”

“So we want to reduce the cost burden of the curative services. By doing that, you introduce what we call a preventive approach—an annual health check for every Ghanaian. So you detect the diseases early. Not only that, you also make sure that by doing that, you increase life expectancy and reduce the cost burden on the patient in the whole country.”

“The modalities are being worked out, and I’m sure very soon, preventive health care will become part of our claim benefit package in such a way that on your month of birth, you’ll get a notification from the NHIA that goes to the nearest health facility and checks your basic vitals. The vitals, obviously, your sugar levels, your BP, your body weight, and all those things will be included. Reforms are taking place, and I’m hoping that they will all come to the benefit of all Ghanaians,” he stated.

Dr. Da-Costa Aboagye, who expressed worry about co-payment at various health facilities, says the issue needs to be addressed head-on.

“Co-payments are a big issue, and we need to address it head-on. We need to address it through our systems, and we also need to address it from the provider’s point of view. Now, if you look at our systems, okay, the government e-pharmacy platform offers us the best solution out of this co-payment.

“Because now when you go to the hospital facilities, they tell you that some of the medicines are not there. But it’s very difficult for our clients to understand the packages we provide in terms of the medicines because they are not experts.”

“So by this, what we are doing is putting the responsibility on the pharmacies to make sure that they upload their prescriptions on the e-pharmacy platforms because of the property addressing system. So it can be delivered to their local pharmacies, or the patients can go to the various local pharmacies and collect it.

“So once we also review the tariffs and give the pharma companies and the facilities the accurate tariffs, we will seek parliamentary approval for what we call the automatic price adjustment so that we have what we call the national tariff review committee that will look at the economic conditions and review the tariffs as we go along.”

“In this case, we from the NHIS will be fulfilling our part, and we will now put the burden on the facilities to fulfill their part. Then we use the systems to check in terms of the e-pharmacy platform to make sure that patients are not being charged for the services that are being paid for by the NHIS,” he stated.

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