NHIS Tops Primary Health Care Financing Global Conference in Ethiopia | 8/18/2023

Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) dominated discussions at a three-day Global Dialogue on Primary Health Care (PHC) Financing, held in Adis Abiba.

At the heart of discussions, the NHIS was recognized as the most effective model required to sustainably solve challenges of similar health care systems implemented in the Sub Region.

It emerged that Primary Health Care (PHC) is to be financed through public resources, leveraging donor resources and other sources of fiscal space, moving health insurance systems away from out-of-pocket payments. 

The Conference emphasized the critical role of Primary Health Care Financing in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by the year 2030.

The stakeholders reviewed all existing Primary Health Care (PHC) financing reforms in Ethiopia and provided technical assistance for identified PHC financing reforms implementation. 

The event largely focused on knowledge and experience sharing, lessons learnt, challenges and opportunities in areas of health insurance delivery. 

Some key challenges identified include weak specialty in Benefit Package, weak institutionalization process, fragmentation, poor integration, and alignment of different Benefit Packages, limited fiscal space, weak health systems capacity, too many purchasing and purchasers arrangements, inadequate information system, inequitable access to health care, lack of uniformity of service fees across regions and payment arrangements of health services package. 

The Ethiopia Health Insurance Agency (EHIA) is expected to reflect on Ghana’s Health Insurance model and other shared experiences at the Conference and produce one unified Benefit Package irrespective of the financing arrangements.

The Conference produced a joint action plan on Healthcare Financing, as means of  moving towards a coherent and purposeful blended health care providers payment mechanism.

 It will be recalled that a four-member delegation from the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) from August 16 to 18, 2023 joined global experts to reaffirm a global commitment to Primary Health Care Financing.

Leader of Ghana’s delegation, Deputy Director Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr. Collins Akuamoah in a presentation highlighted health purchasing reforms introduced in Ghana’s health eco-system, some challenges, and possible solutions.

He said in the year 2012, Ghana introduced a Capitation Payment system under the NHIS, which was piloted in the Ashanti and extended  to the Volta, Upper East and Upper West regions, with a key objective of controlling outpatient utilization and Claims expenditure.

Ethiopia’s Senior Health Financing Officer, with the World Health Organization (WHO), Tesfaye Mesele lauded Ghana’s earlier Capitation model and said there was the need to adopt it in improving that of Ethiopia.

According to him, Ethiopia started piloting Capitation in some communities and needs Ghana’s model to perfect theirs.  

He said areas that would be explored consist of households mapping, public financing reforms, private sector engagements and capitation rate setting approach.

Ghana’s delegation comprised Mr. Collins Akuamoah Danso (Leader), Deputy Director, Research, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, Mr. Kwadwo Tweneboa-Kodua, Middle Belt Zonal Director, Mr. Daniel Asare Adin-Darko, Deputy Director Finance/Accounting Directorate and Hamdiya Amadu Yakubu, Officer, Corporate Affairs Directorate.

Credit: Hamdiya Amadu Yakubu