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Govt to de-cap NHIA funds for improved healthcare

The government has de-capped funds of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to allow the payment of more claims to service providers and increase access to healthcare.

Dr Lydia Dzane Selby, Acting Chief Executive of the NHIA in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday noted that from “2020 we will have about 80 per cent of our funds retained and give 20 per cent to government to undertake its activities and we expect that this will improve our delivery of health services.”

She was speaking on the sidelines of a sustainable health financing forum to improve access to healthcare in line with the country’s target to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030.

Parliament in 2017 passed the Funds Capping and Re-alignment Bill to redirect money from various statutory funds to the Finance Ministry for the financing of government priority projects.

The Ghana Education Trust (GETFund), NHIS fund, District Assembly Common Fund, among others were part of the affected statutory funds.

According to Dr Selby “government used to take a larger chunk of the money for its projects because of the law that was passed but we have been holding talks with the government and next year we hope things will be better.”

Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu suggested the need to generate more domestic revenue to finance health instead of levying and taxation which often burdened the citizenry.

To him, the government’s interventions including the ‘export’ of nurses to the Caribbean countries forms part of efforts to rake in revenue for the country to boost healthcare delivery.

“It is also very clear that increasing funds and removing financial barriers to access health care through prepayment and resource pooling will not in itself achieve UHC unless the resources are used efficiently.

“This point to the importance of improving the strategic nature of the purchasing function of health financing, including the need to review the benefit package to guarantee essential service delivery responds to citizens’ needs,” the Minister maintained.

Mr Agyeman-Manu pledged his Ministry’s determination “to avail minimum package of health services throughout the country by 2030. 

Provision of services that are listed in the UHC Package shall be the Ministry’s key social contract for all people in Ghana,” he assured.

Country Representative of the World Health Organisation, Dr Neema Kimambo, expressed the need to enhance “the stewardship of the health financing system through harmonised policies and strategies on the part of the Ministry and improved coordination of development partner support.”

She assured of WHO support to Ghana to provide guidance and technical assistance “in the process of developing or revising the 2015-2020 Ghana Health Financing Strategy to align with the UHC roadmap, in an effort to improve health system performance and progress towards UHC.”

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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