The Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA) has urged the government to enhance the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to encompass coverage for non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
This recommendation aims to alleviate the financial strain on patients grappling with NCD-related illnesses.
A Civil Society Status Report on National NCD Response and Landscape in Ghana highlighted the escalating burden of NCDs and the associated surge in out-of-pocket payments, leading to significant socio-economic challenges for the population.
The report emphasized the importance of incorporating vital NCD services, including mental health, into the NHIS.
Currently, the absence of these services results in out-of-pocket payments, hindering individuals from seeking essential healthcare and early detection through screening.
The GhNCDA's report cited a study revealing that patients face financial obstacles in affording the cost of NCD management, covering transportation expenses for reviews, and acquiring necessary equipment for monitoring conditions at home. These challenges contribute to increased individual and household impoverishment.
The systemic lapses identified in Ghana's health system, as outlined in the report, undermine the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 target.
The goal aims to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one-third through prevention and treatment by 2030.
The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), established in 2003, serves as Ghana's social health insurance policy, primarily designed to ease the financial burden of healthcare access, especially for the impoverished.
The report emphasized the timeliness of declaring Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a policy for all countries.
UHC aims to ensure that individuals can access promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative health services of adequate quality without facing financial hardship.