Mr Sebastian Alagpulinsa, the Upper East Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) on Wednesday said the free maternal health policy by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has improved maternal and infant health nationwide.
This, he indicated was manifested in significant reduction in maternal and infant deaths across the country, “this improved health status of our people and has also resulted in an improved life expectancy from 57years in 2014 to 63years to date.”
He said good health would undoubtedly result in better development outcomes which would further impact positively in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly on health.
Mr Alagpulinsa was speaking at the 2017 end of year performance review meeting of the NHIA held on the theme: “Delivering on the new strategic vision for the sustainability of the NHIS.”
The meeting, which was chaired by Bon Naba Baba Salifu Aleemyarum, the Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, attracted officials from all nine District Offices of the Authority, opinion leaders and the media to enable the scheme managers to strategically forge ahead on their core mandate in 2018.
The Director further hinted that three Districts; the Bolgatanga Municipal, Bawku West and Nabdam Districts had been selected to pilot family planning for inclusion to the NHIS package, and said even though the inclusion was a requirement by the National Health Insurance Act 852, it demonstrated managers’ commitment to enhance maternal health and reduced cost to the Authority.
He indicated that “Ghana’s Health Insurance Scheme has the best and most generous benefits package in Africa if not the world,” adding that the scheme covered about 95 percent of all disease conditions in the country which included out and in-patient services, oral health, maternal care and emergency services.
“These all resulted in a substantial increase in access to health care services not only in the region, but across the whole nation,” Mr Alagpulinsa said.
He disclosed that the Region had registered 569,829 members from a target of 578,833 representing 98 percent of the Regional membership target and 47 percent of the population of the year under review and added that the Region was able to mobilise GH¢2,135,869 from a Regional premium target of GH¢2,792,238 representing 76 percent, and was ranked fourth in the country.
Mr Alagpulinsa said the achievement would not only help a large number of the populace to be able to access health care, but would clearly propel Ghana towards attaining Universal Health Coverage by 2030.
The Director enumerated the delay in reimbursement to service providers which resulted in the provision of poor quality health services, weak human resource capacity, fraud and corruption, low premium payments, increasing costs of reimbursement and false claims submitted by some credentialed health providers.
Other challenges confronting the various schemes in the region include; inadequate supply of ribbons, printers and computers which resulted in long queues and waiting time at District scheme offices.
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, the Upper East Regional Minister congratulated management and staff of the NHIA in the Region for largely meeting their target for the reviewed year.
He noted particularly that the NHIA exceeded its target by 101 percent in the registration of school children, and attributed the Authority’s achievement to the hard work and dedication of staff in the Region.
Mr Bukari however charged the staff to move beyond the enrolment of 75,172 poor people last year out of a target of 131, 613 to cover more of the poor population. “As a less privileged region, we should strive to take advantage of the various exemptions for the poor by enrolling as many numbers as possible that fall within the various categories.”