Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), says the Authority is committed to include mental health treatment under the National Health Insurance Scheme.
He said the Authority had requested data from the Mental Health Authority and was conducting actuarial analysis to determine the possibility and impact of adding mental health treatment to the NHIS benefit package.
This is towards meeting the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) targets and coverage for all Ghanaians.
The CEO disclosed this at a meeting held when representatives from Johnson and Johnson (J&J) pharmaceutical company paid a courtesy call to congratulate him on his appointment as the CEO and pledged support for onward engagements and collaboration with the NHIA, a statement from the Authority copied to the Ghana News Agency said.
It said about 95 per cent of ailments in Ghana were presently covered under the NHIS while the remaining five per cent were driven down the path of medical and financial difficulties.
“The government recently approved the treatment of the four commonest childhood cancers – Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, Burkitt Lymphoma, Retinoblastoma, and Wilms Tumor,” to be added to the NHIS benefit package.
It added that NHIIA was in the process of adding the treatment of sickle cell with Hydroxyurea on the NHIS Medicines List.
Dr Boye encouraged the government and all stakeholders to find innovative and sustainable ways to improve inflows into the NHIA Fund to make it robust and resilient enough to carry extra inclusions.
The J&J team, led by Mr Kwabena Asante Offei, Senior Manager, Government Affairs and Policy, West Africa, disclosed how the company’s groundbreaking research had produced innovative drugs for the treatment of some mental health conditions and prostate cancer.
“J&J is also keen on collaborating with the NHIA to make its products accessible to the ordinary Ghanaian who would normally have to pay out of pocket for such important medication.
“With the provision of such innovative drugs, some medications for mental health can be administered just twice a year as compared to daily intake for the treatment of Schizophrenia, for example, thereby offering a better quality of life for patients,” he said.
Other officials at the meeting were Mrs Yaa Pokuaa Baiden, Deputy Chief, Admin & HR, Mr. Ben Kusi, Director, Membership & Regional Operations, and Mr. Oswald Essuah-Mensah, Head of Corporate Affairs and Mr. Daniel Blankson, Head of Management Information Systems at the NHIA.