The Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr. Okoe Boye says his outfit is in the process of including mental health treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme’s benefit package.
Dr. Okoe Boye made this known at a recent meeting in his office when representatives from Johnson and Johnson (J&J) pharmaceutical company paid a courtesy call on him to congratulate him on his appointment and pledged support for onward engagements and collaboration with the NHIA.
He stated that the NHIA has requested data from the Mental Health Authority and is conducting actuarial analysis to determine the possibility and impact of adding Mental Health Treatment to the NHIS benefit package as a way of aligning with the Akufo-Addo-led government’s efforts at meeting the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) targets and coverage for all Ghanaians.
Presently, about 95% of ailments in Ghana are covered by the NHIS while the remaining 5% not covered by the Scheme are driven down the path of medical and financial difficulties.
The government recently approved the treatment of the four commonest childhood cancers namely Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, Burkitt Lymphoma, Retinoblastoma, and Wilms Tumor to be added to the NHIS benefit package and is in the process of adding the treatment of sickle cell with Hydroxyurea on the NHIS medicines list.
Dr. Okoe Boye praised government for taking steps to ensure total healthcare for all Ghanaians and reducing financial barriers to accessing healthcare.
He used the occasion to encourage 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 to the package.
The J&J team, led by Kwabena Asante Offei, Senior Manager, Government Affairs and Policy, West Africa, disclosed how their 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 ordinary Ghanaians, 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.
Contributing to the discussions 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.