NHIS Expands Coverage: Supporting Child Cancer Patients in Ghana

NHIS Expands Coverage: Supporting Child Cancer Patients in Ghana

Since June of last year, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has extended coverage to accommodate the medical bills of 226 child cancer patients.

In June 2022, the NHIS expanded its coverage to include four childhood cancers, leading to 136 children seeking treatment at designated healthcare facilities between June and December of the same year. An additional 90 cancer patients have sought medical care this year.

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Abdul Karim Naatogmah, the Acting Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs at the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), disclosed that most of the child patients made single visits to healthcare facilities, primarily Teaching and Regional hospitals.

However, nine clients visited twice this year, and three others had three visits each. The NHIA reimbursed approximately GH¢250,000 in total, with GH¢143,143 in 2022 and GH¢100,937 this year.

These medical services were provided by a multi-disciplinary team of experts across seven healthcare facilities, including the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ho Teaching Hospital, Tamale Teaching Hospital, Greater Accra Regional Hospital, and Holy Family Hospital in Techiman, the Bono East regional capital.

The inclusion of childhood cancers, namely acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Burkitt lymphoma, retinoblastoma, and Wilms tumor, was announced by First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo in November 2021 during the NHIS Week celebrations. This decision was made following an actuarial assessment of the scheme’s capacity to cover the costs associated with childhood cancer treatment.

Mr. Naatogmah affirmed the NHIA’s commitment to achieving its objectives and pledged to collaborate with stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of initiatives.

In response to changing economic conditions, the NHIA has reviewed service tariffs and medication prices in February 2023, ahead of the annual deadline in July.

These price reviews apply to all services within the benefit package and are conducted in partnership with stakeholders.

Furthermore, the NHIA is in the process of conducting a comprehensive review of its tariff building blocks to establish levels that support the sustainability of healthcare facilities and the longevity of the scheme.

The NHIA is also addressing concerns regarding the availability of medicines and consumables at specified prices in some healthcare facilities.

It plans to engage with relevant stakeholders and regulators in the supply chain to ensure the provision of quality healthcare services to all NHIS members.

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