Mr Kasimu Abudulai, the Upper East Regional Operations Manager of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), said pregnant women have confidence in the free maternal healthcare delivery system as shown by their level of enrolment.
He said the gains recorded by the NHIA indicated a high level of confidence in the system, adding: “In insurance, confidence is very important, anytime there is confidence boost, enrolment also follows.”
Mr Abudulai said when the Health Insurance Scheme started between 2003 and 2004, about 650 pregnant women died out of every 100,000 deliveries in Ghana, but the number had currently reduced to below 350.
“We have half the deaths, and the major contributing factor is the free access to maternal healthcare,” he said.
Mr Abudulai said this when he facilitated the first session of a two-day training workshop on Service Delivery and Social Accountability for members of the Upper East Regional Branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) at Paga in the Kassena-Nankana West District.
He spoke on the topic: “The Free Maternal Care Policy under the National Health Insurance Authority: Ensuring Quality Healthcare Delivery and Minimizing Illegal Payments,” and said even though maternal deaths had reduced, that was not the required standard.
He expressed the hope of the Authority that, with time, maternal deaths would further reduce to below 100 deaths per every 100,000 deliveries.
“We are still working to further reduce the number of deaths so that when a woman is pregnant, you do not count her as a candidate of death.”
Mr Abudulai said the success chalked by the Free Maternal Healthcare Policy had resulted in a holistic maternal care system, of which Family Planning (FP) was critical.
He said the NHIA, therefore, introduced the Family Planning Policy on pilot bases on May 1, 2018 across six districts in Ghana including the Bolgatanga, Nabdam and Bawku West districts.
Mr Abudulai indicated that the Policy did not cover every FP method but covered only clinical methods adding; “They are the ones that can be administered to you at the facility so that we do not waste them.”
The Policy covered five FP methods namely: tubal ligation, vasectomy, the Intra Uterine Device (IUD), the in-plant and the one and three months injectable.
Family Planning was not to stop couples from giving birth but to help space child birth in families, he said.
Mr Eric Kwadjo Amoh, the Upper East Regional Chairman of the GJA, said the Association organised the workshop as a member of the Citizens Empowerment Against Corruption.
He said a coalition of four institutions; the Association of Church Development Projects (ACDP), which was the lead agency, the Rural Initiative for Self-Empowerment (RISE) Ghana, the Presbyterian Health Services – North and the GJA, with funding support from STAR-Ghana and its allies, are working to fight against corruption-related issues.
“A proposal was advertised by STAR-Ghana and the four institutions put themselves together and applied for the fund, fortunately, STAR-Ghana accepted the proposal,” he said.
“Basically the proposal looked at four key areas; the health insurance, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty, maternal health and fertilizer subsidy.”
Mr Amoh said the role of the GJA was to ensure that the message got to people at the grassroots while making sure that officials who managed the four key areas were not engulfed in corruption and its related issues.