Nana Oye Lithur
Nana Oye Lithur

wpid-nhis-new-logo.jpgThe African Health Markets for Equity (AHME) project is an initiative of the British Government, and Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation.

It aims to increase coverage of quality healthcare within the private provider system and address priority issues that most affect the poor in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya through the provision of data and statistics to improve the identification of the poor using electronic means test system.

Speaking during the launch of the AHME, Nana Oye Lithur, the Gender Minister said the project which would start in 10 districts on a pilot basis would seek to enroll 150, 000 households, 900,000 persons and 70,000 extremely poor people onto the national NHIS data by 2016.

The ten beneficiary districts are Adaklu-Anyigbe, Ho, Ashaiman, Ledzekuku Krowor, Fanteakwa, East Akim, Ejisu Juaben, Afigya Kwabre, Bolgatanga and Kassena Nankana

She said the five year project would be implemented in Ghana by a consortium of partners including the World Bank Health in Africa Initiative, Marie-Stopes International and PharmAccess Foundation.

She expressed her appreciation to the World Bank, Marie-Stopes International and PharmAccess Foundation for donating to the Gender Ministry technological items worth$ 200,000, which would enable the Ministry and stakeholders to work effectively to get more people unto the Scheme.

The items were 100 android tablets, digitized proxy means test tool and ten motorbikes for district social protection officers to use in monitoring field activities and work of Community Based Social protection Committees.

“These items will certainly be of immense assistance in reaching the extremely poor in the remotest parts of Ghana and register them on our social protection programmes such as the NHIS, LEAP among others”, she said.

She intimated that using appropriate tested means of targeting was key to promoting efficiency and reducing corruption at all levels as the implications of wrongful targeting were immense.

“We are therefore adopting electronic means for both targeting and payment of our cash transfer programmes so that we will be able to hit the 200,000 mark of beneficiaries under the LEAP programme by the close of the year”, she added.

She said the Ministry had also adopted the electronic means of payment for caterers under the School Feeding Programme because it had proved to be efficient.

She disclosed the School Feeding Programme currently feeds about 1.7 million school children, and by the end of the year, the Ministry would get additional 800, 000 school children, bringing the total to 2.5 million children hooked onto the Programme.

She said the Ministry had since last year, collaborated with the NHIA to register people aged 65 and above, the physically challenged and prison inmates onto the scheme.

“More than 7,000 elderly persons and 6,000 prisoners have been issued with NHIS cards for free to enable them to access free healthcare”, she said.

Mr Nathaniel Otoo, the acting Chief Executive Officer, National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), expressed his appreciation to AHME for partnering Ghana as it would enable more vulnerable people to gain access to good health by getting enrolled unto the NHIS.

He noted that so far the NHIA had been able to register 10.9 million people unto the Scheme, representing 40 percent of the total population of Ghana.

Professor Khama Rogo, Lead Head Specialist, World Bank, lauded AHME initiative as it would enable beneficiary countries to provide good health care to the poor in their societies.

GNA

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