Gov’t Hints Of NHIA Funds Increase

Kwaku Agyeman-Manu interacting with some participants after the meeting

Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has hinted of a possible increase of funds allocation to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Although Mr Agyeman-Manu did not mention the amount or when it would be implemented, he said the country needs to find more money to invest into the NHIS in order to move towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

“As the relative contributions of premiums is small. Tax-based funding is the obvious source.  However, increasing the fiscal space to fund the NHIS requires economic growth and improved tax collection,” he said.

Mr Agyeman-Manu was speaking to journalists at the commemoration of the World Health Day in Accra themed: ‘Universal Health Coverage; Everyone, Everywhere’.

Until recently, the NHIS has come under pressure with regards to raising funds to settle claims resulting in strike actions by service providers.

However, government’s intervention through funds allocation to the scheme is ensuring it gets back on its feet.

The minister stated that the UHC requires the creation of a system of protection which provides equality of opportunity for people to enjoy an attainable level of health like the country’s NHIS.

Mr Agyeman-Manu, however, highlighted that the pro-poor policy which offers generous benefit package to its members was faced with many challenges.

“Many poor people find it difficult to pay registration fees as well as the premiums… fixing flat-rate rather than income-related premiums, also burden poorer members excessively,” he added.

The minister revealed that government was working towards UHC for the country through well-equipped health infrastructure with essential equipment, medicine, drugs and trained skilled human resources for health, as well as improvement in the provision of water and sanitation, diet and exercise.

He was, therefore, hopeful that stakeholders will perform their responsibility to ensure that UHC is effectively delivered in the country.

Dr Owen Kaluwa, country representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), in his remarks, commended the government for introducing innovations that have helped access to UHC in the country.

“UHC means ensuring that everyone can access essential quality health service without facing financial hardship. It is a powerful equaliser that ensures health for all, enhances health security, reduces poverty and promotes gender equality,” he said.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri