The African Health Markets for Equity (AHME) Programme, which aims at increasing coverage of quality healthcare within the private provider system and address priority issues that mostly affect the poor in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, has been launched in Accra.
The five-year programme in Ghana is being implemented by a consortium of partners with complementary expertise--the International Finance Corporation (World Bank), Health in Africa initiative, Marie-Stopes International and PharmAccess Foundation.
The programme will be piloted in ten (10) districts namely, Adaklu-Anyigbe, Ho, Ashaiman, Ledzokuku-Krowor, Fanteakwa, East Akim, Ejisu -Juaben, Afigya-Kwabre, Bolgatanga and Kassena- Nankana.
At the end of the project, AHME expects to have added 150,000 households, 900,000 persons and 70,000 extreme poor onto the national household data by 2016.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, said the AHME programme would help strengthen social protection interventions in Ghana, adding that the Ministry's support to AHME would be bone by providing data and statistics to improve identification of the poor, using electronic means-test system.
In an address, the Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr Nathaniel Otoo, explained that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was a pro-poor scheme that sought to provide financial risk protection and access to quality basic healthcare for all residents, hence its partnership with the AHME project.
Mr Otoo disclosed that in addition to other logistics such as motorbikes, authentication devices, public education material and systems for monitoring and evaluation, the AHME programme had supported NHIS with 20 biometric registration work stations to ease registration onto the NHIS.
He said it was the expectation of NHIA that the new approach for targeting poor and vulnerable populations that had been launched would ensure the removal of some of the bottlenecks that had contributed to the relatively low registration of poor and vulnerable persons onto the scheme across the country.
In his remarks, Lead Head Specialist at the World Bank, Professor Khama Rogo, on behalf of the AHME partners, congratulated the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for the initiative of increasing utilization of essential out-patient services.
Professor Rogo said the issue of healthcare cut across all nationality and commended Ghana for leading Africa by extending healthcare to the vulnerable and poor in remote areas.
The ceremony was also used to freely register the elderly in Ledzokuku Krowor constituency onto the helth insurance scheme.
Source: ISD (Karimatu Anas)