Economist and Investment Consultant Kwame Pianim has admonished management of the National Health Insurance Scheme to operate without any political interference.
The two leading political parties NPP, and NDC disagree over the manner in which the scheme is being run by the current management. The NPP has alleged the management is collapsing the scheme while the NDC has countered that claim saying it has expanded coverage of the scheme.
A recent report from Parliament painted a gloomy picture of the future of the scheme if no sustainable plan for funding is developed.
The NDC failed to implement the one term premium promise it made during the 2008 election campaign.
Speaking at a stakeholders forum organized by the National Health Insurance Authority, Mr. Pianim said the aftermath of the elections is not as important as the state of health of the Ghanaian; He insisted there should be a non-partisan workable plan to improve the health of the Ghanaian.
“This is an excellent idea for us to take stock of the scheme and see how we can make it financially sustainable so that every Ghanaian will know that at least when they get sick they don’t have to find money from their pockets to be able to pay for it.”
“Ghanaians probably feel that this is of more interest to them than even Presidential elections; but will they get quality service, will they be served quickly when they go there [hospitals]. This is what is important to people and is the premium affordable,” he asked.
According to Mr. Pianim the NHIS is supported by all political parties but the approach is different.
Oxfam’s Report on Ghana’s Healthcare System
A recent report by Oxfam, described current health system in Ghana is unfair and inefficient. The findings include:
• Coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has been hugely exaggerated, and could be as low as 18%.
• Every Ghanaian citizen pays for the NHIS through VAT, but as many as 82% remain excluded.
• Twice as many rich people are signed up to the NHIS as poor people. 64% of the rich are registered compared with just 29% of the poorest.
• Those excluded from the NHIS still pay user fees in the Cash and Carry’ system. Twenty five years after fees for health were introduced by the World Bank, they are still excluding millions of citizens from the health care they need.
• An estimated 36% of health spending is wasted due to inefficiencies and poor investment. Moving away from a health insurance administration alone could save US$83 million each year. Enough to pay for 23,000 more nurses.
• Through savings, good quality aid but primarily improved progressive taxation of Ghana’s own resources, especially oil, the government could afford to increase spending on health by 200%, to US$54 per capita, by 2015.