The Vice President of the Republic, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has launched two technical innovations designed to make the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) more accessible to its members and also improve upon the Scheme’s financial management.
The two, a Mobile Membership Renewal Service and the generation of E-Receipts to track payments, are also designed to streamline the operations of the NHIS and make it more efficient.
The NHIS Mobile Membership Renewal service allows NHIS members to check policy validity, NHIS medicines list and benefit package and most importantly renew membership with the use of a mobile money wallet on any simple mobile phone, including feature phones better known as ‘yam phones’ in a matter of minutes via a dedicated USSD code *929#.
A pilot of the NHIS Mobile Membership Renewal Service has been successfully conducted in Asuogyaman and West Mamprusi districts of the Eastern and Northern regions respectively, according to NHIA officials, with NHIS members in these areas highly commending the innovation with very positive testimonies.
The service is available on the AirtelTigo, MTN and Vodafone networks respectively and is already compatible for use with the Ghana Card when it is fully scaled up across the country.
“This is the first of its kind in West Africa, and with the high percentage of mobile phone users in comparison to other technologies, (in Ghana for instance, we have 34.5 million registered mobile phone users, in a population of under 30 million), this service will provide a platform for increasing access to health care services for all residents in Ghana,” Vice President Bawumia stated in Accra on Wednesday 19th December 2018.
Speaking at the launch of the National Health Insurance Authority’s 15th Anniversary celebrations at the Jubilee House, Accra, Vice President Bawumia continued:
“I am also reliably informed that an SMS feature system has been embedded in this NHIS Mobile Membership Renewal Service which will allow the participation of NHIS members in confirming their attendance at facilities hence reducing the submission of duplicate or unearned claims submitted by Healthcare Providers for payment. This feature will not only reduce financial leakages but will also make the scheme more financially sustainable.”
The NHIS has also innovated by using technology to enhance their financial system in providing access to health care by its collaboration with the National Investment Bank to provide E – RECEIPTING technology with on-site banking at all its district offices. This will reduce manual interventions in cash management and make the scheme more efficient.
Vice President Bawumia affirmed Government’s commitment to ensuring Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which has been defined by the WHO as a system of allocating healthcare resources to all citizens of a country in such a way that everyone is covered for basic health care services of prevention, treatment, promotion, rehabilitation and palliative care without financial restrictions.
“On our part, Ghana is still committed to the Abuja declaration of assigning not less than 15% of annual budgetary allocation to the health sector and we are steadily making progress to achieve that too. We will continue to be innovative to deliver better financial arrangements for the NHIS as we march towards full attainment of UHC here in Ghana.”
He urged management of the NHIA to address the bottlenecks that have stalled the growth of membership over the years, which has stagnated at about 37% of the population, to enable it increase its membership for the attainment of Universal Healthcare Coverage.
Vice President Bawumia commended the staff, management and Board of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for their efforts over the years to make health care more accessible to Ghanaians through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
He had high praise for the NHIA officials, particularly those in charge over the last two years, whose efforts have led to the revival of the NHIS from its almost comatose state, through technological and managerial innovations.
“The NHIS has had its fair share of challenges that primarily borders on its financial sustainability and some other structural reforms that it must undertake to keep making the progress it has made so far. The NHIS Management team and the Ministry of Health has done a stellar job over the last two years, and they deserve our praise.”