18 January 2013

Ghana: NHIA Moves to Set Up Health Insurance Learning Centre

Ghana will soon become home to a health insurance knowledge centre, which will provide expertise and training on health insurance to many countries and institutions across the world.

The move to set-up the institution was put forward by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), with support from its development partners.

The essence of the centre will be to make use of the rich knowledge base of Ghana's NHIS, which has become a global model for health insurance and is widely cited by many academics as a worthy example of social health insurance.

The centre, which would be open to all interested persons and institutions across the world, will also deepen Ghana's current position as a leading global model of social health insurance.

The Chief Executive of the NHIA, Mr. Sylvester A. Mensah, at a forum to discuss the feasibility study report on the establishment of the centre said NHIA came up with the idea because of the inexistence of a 'well defined and structured academic discipline for social health insurance.'

He expressed optimism that the centre will lead in providing a structured system, where 'we could have theory, research and practice, combined to ensure we develop the needed human capacity for running health insurance systems.'

According to Mr. Mensah, the global centre, which will be located in Ghana, is to provide the opportunity for knowledge sharing and acquisition within the context of health insurance.

He mentioned that the forum was also to build capacity and to sell the idea of a health insurance learning centre to see how best it can be supported and financed.

A Consultant working on the feasibility of the learning centre project, Dr. Nicholas Tweneboah indicated that the centre will be important in bridging the health insurance knowledge capacity gap that exist in many countries, as they relate to theory, practice and research.

Dr. Tweneboah said though the need to have such a learning facility was not in doubt, the form and scope required to facilitate this has not been defined.

He was grateful to PharmAccess Foundation, the Uganda Martyrs University, Cordaid and the Health insurance fund for providing support to the feasibility study.

Senior Programmes Manager and Researcher with PharmAccess Foundation, Christine Fenenga remarked that establishment of the centre will go a long way to improve knowledge on health insurance and make Ghana a hub where experts on the subject from many parts of the world will come to share and debate ideas relevant to enhancing existing health insurance systems.

The forum drew participants from Uganda, Nigeria, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

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