Stakeholders from the healthcare sector have called for closer collaboration between private health insurance companies and the National Health Insurance Scheme to deepen universal health coverage in Ghana.
The call was made at the maiden UHC Day Seminar which was organized by Nationwide Medical Insurance in partnership with the PharmAccess Foundation. The one-day event was under the theme, “Achieving Universal Health Coverage – The role and contribution of private health insurance”.
The maiden UHC Day Seminar attracted participants from private health insurers, NHIA, civil society, healthcare service providers, NGOs, health-related professional bodies and associations, development agencies, pharma companies, digital health innovators among others in the healthcare sector, and was held to mark universal health coverage day.
The Chief Executive Officer of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye remarked that private health insurance (PHI) has the potential to grow and expand access to healthcare through health insurance for more people if the right mechanisms are put in place to ensure quality and affordability.
“The expansion of PHI could serve as a substitute form of health coverage for individuals that are unable to get coverage from the NHIS or become a complementary coverage for individuals covered by NHIS”, he added.
Dr. Okoe-Boye made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Director of Claims at the NHIA, Mr. Opoku- Boateng.
The Country Director of PharmAccess Foundation, Dr Maxwell Akwasi Antwi, noted that even though the public sector had a lot of mileage in health insurance policies, its growth could be complemented by efforts from the private sector as well.
Dr Antwi who served as the chairman of the event said there were lessons from both sectors that could help advance Universal Health Coverage, as such there was the need for both parties to build bridges in the areas of regulation, advocacy, and other relevant aspects.
“The public sector is doing great work with the NHIS having 52 per cent of the population of Ghana as active members. So it really tells you how big that momentum is and how we’re growing very well and the great work that the Ministry of Health and the NHIA and all the partners have worked into,” Dr Antwi said.
Furthermore, he said that PharmAccess Foundation was one of such committed private outfits, poised to partner the government to advance the cause of Universal Health Coverage.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nationwide Medical Insurance, Nancy Naa Ampah, also stressed the need for private and public sector players to pool their strengths to boost healthcare delivery.
“The private health insurance could be the oil to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030, and also we need to be more innovative. The private health insurance sector should be very innovative in its approach to healthcare financing”, she added.
She noted that the aspirations of universal health coverage align with the vision and purpose of Nationwide Medical Insurance, which is why the company pioneered the maiden UHC Day Seminar in partnership with PharmAccess Foundation.
“There is the need to reimagine healthcare financing and devise ways through a multi-sectoral approach to make as many people as possible acquire access and afford healthcare through health insurance in Ghana”, she said.
In a panel discussion which formed part of the event, notable industry players took turns to express their views on how healthcare in general can be taken to the next level.
Other discussants included the Industry Lead for PHIAG, Ronald Oppong; Operations Manager for PharmAccess Foundation, Dr Gifty Sunkwa-Mills; Board Member of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr Isaac Morrison; Senior Vice President (Africa) of Zipline Africa, Daniel Marfo, and CEO of Claron Health International, Dr Dennis Addo.
The participants diagnosed some problems in the industry and advanced some solutions to mitigate the highlighted challenges.