An 8-member delegation from the Republic of Benin is in the country on a study tour of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). The visit by the Beninois team comes days after a similar call by officials of the Ethiopian health sector.
The high-level delegation made up of the leadership of the Benin’s Health Insurance Agency and health service arrived in the country at the weekend for a 5-day visit.
Mr Nathaniel Otoo, Director of Administration and General Counsel of the NHIA in welcoming the delegation said Ghana is happy to share her experiences in health insurance with others across the continent and the world at large. He said the study visit by the Beninois team will among others deepen South-South cooperation and provide a forum for knowledge sharing.
According to him, “Africa is on the threshold of making progress in health insurance and Ghana is happy to be making progress.” Mr Otoo also added that the NHIA is in the process of establishing a Health Insurance Learning Centre together with other countries which would enhance future knowledge sharing experiences.
On his part, Chief Executive of the Benin Health Insurance Agency, Dr Moussa Yarou, thanked the NHIA for the opportunity to understudy Ghana’s Scheme first hand and praised Ghanaians for establishing an innovative scheme.
He said the idea of a sustainable means of financing healthcare delivery in Benin has been on the drawing board since independence and the country has secured the needed high-level support from government and all the relevant stakeholders in their country to commence the processes and the visit to Ghana is to study how the NHIS, Ghana’s home grown strategy of providing financial access to healthcare to its citizens, operates. “This visit is aimed at helping us have real experience of how your system works,” Dr Yarou said.
Whilst in the country, the delegation will hold consultations with officials of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and be taken on a tour of a number of Mutual Health Insurance Schemes.
Officials of the NHIA will take the Beninois delegation through some major themes including structure of the NHIS, Ghana’s NHIS financing model, membership coverage, risk management, accreditation and quality assurance, how to establish a cogent legal framework for their future health insurance needs, provider payment mechanisms, clinical audit and tariff setting.
According to the Authority, the role of the health facility regulator and how to target the poor (in order to assist them) are some of the other areas the team would be taken through by directors and officials of the NHIA.
The delegation will visit some NHIS ICT installations and projects, tour the ultramodern Claims Processing Centre, some health insurance schemes and the NHIS Call Centre. They will also pay a courtesy call on the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service.
About 8.6 million of Ghana’s population is covered by the NHIS and in the last few years the scheme has experienced tremendous growth in its membership, infrastructure, and utilization currently stands at 27.4 million.
The delegation’s visit comes at a time the scheme has seen remarkable improvements in its active membership, experiencing increased utilisation and also piloting an additional payment mechanism, capitation. This study tour which comes after visits by delegations from Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Cameroun and many other countries as a model of healthcare financing for countries in the developing world and beyond.