Countries with responsive and responsible leadership, view health care as a very serious business which deserves all attention and focus; especially with the realisation that it does not come cheap.
In Ghana, when the National Health Insurance Scheme, was established under Act 650 of 2003 by the Government of Ghana to provide a broad range of health care services to Ghanaians through district mutual and private health insurance schemes, the expectation was high and the people were overjoyed, because at long last Ghana, had come to the realization of how important the health of her people are.
16 years, after its establishment, can we say, we have overcome all the problems that were encountered when it was established?
Every now and then, you hear service providers threatening to withdraw their service, because of arrears. Non-payment of arrears, has become a recurrent decimal, which is a threat to the survival and sustenance of the scheme.
A release issued by the Chamber of Pharmacy Ghana (CoPG) on Monday, February 10, 2020, and signed by its Chairman, Harrison Kofi Abutiate, has directed the pharmaceutical companies to abide by the resolutions reached at their last meeting on January 22.
Per the resolution, the pharmaceutical companies are to request the hospitals to provide a payment guarantee before medicines could be supplied to them.
It also resolved that: “Health facilities owing more than three (3) months shall no more enjoy any credit facilities from our members.”
The National Health Insurance Scheme is practised elsewhere with great success, so it is not rocket science.
We view the successful operation of an insurance health scheme, taking into cognizance the peculiarities and idiosyncrasies of the country, as something Ghana and Ghanaians can do if they honestly put their mind to it. It only needs doing the right things at the right time.
Most importantly, the patient who is the end user should be better treated in the whole scheme. The era of shoddy treatment of patients by hospitals and care providers where they are plied with cheap, ineffective drugs should fast be made a thing of the past. The customer is king, says the maxim. The NHIS should know this.
Ghanaians desire and deserve a functional health insurance scheme to improve and safeguard their lives from avoidable deaths due to inaccessibility to health care.