The Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign (UAHCC) has welcomed the decision by President John Mahama to allocate a portion of the oil revenue to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).At the NCCE presidential debate, President Mahama said “My proposal is that a percentage of the annual budget funding amount that comes from petroleum revenues should be allocated to the National Health Insurance Scheme.”
The President said there was the need to rework the sustainability of the Scheme, hence the need to look for new sources of funding for the NHIS.
On the back of his comment, the National Campaign Coordinator of UAHCC, Archibald Adams said such additional source of funding would give the NHIA more resources to expand its operations and reduce the issues of delay in payment of claims among others.
The UAHCC is a National Campaign driven by a network of Local and International NGOs including the Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), Coalition of NGOs in Health, ISODEC and SEND Ghana.
One of the key recommendations of the Technical Review of the NHIS was the identification of other sources of funding.
The Campaign said it wished President Mahama’s announcement could have come earlier, especially as the NHIA has not paid claims to several health facilities ranging between seven to 12 months.
“Most of our health facilities nationwide have threatened to stop attending to NHIS card holders because of the persistent delay in payment of claims and we want to urge the Ministry of Finance to as a matter of urgency, release funds for the NHIA to pay its service providers. We are told the release of funds is done quarterly but for the whole of 2016, nothing has been transferred to the NHIA. How do we expect the Authority to run and pay its bills?” Mr. Adams questioned.
The Campaign believes that, a lot has been achieved with the scheme and Ghana cannot go back on her gains.
The Campaign also commended the NHIA led by its CEO, Nathaniel Otoo for the introduction of the multi-year registration for scheme members.
The innovations includes the introduction of paperless registration, Provider Unique Identification, electronic identification of the poor and vulnerable persons for enrolment onto the scheme, expansion of Clinical Audit capacity among many others.
Mr. Adams observed, the NHIS has a fundamental challenge which is the delay in release of funds from the Ministry of Finance to the NHIA to enable the Authority effectively and efficiently run the Scheme.
He said more than 41 per cent of the population are currently active users of the NHIS and a lot of people are registering unto the scheme daily.
“This should give cause for all stakeholders to support and ensure that, the Scheme is effectively managed to provide healthcare for all Ghanaians especially the vulnerable, poor, aged, women and children,” Mr. Adams added.