The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH) are implementing research recommendations to boost enrollment onto the NHIS in the Ketu North district of the Volta region.
Interventions arising from the recommendations were launched in October, 2016. District manager of the Scheme in Ketu North, Emmanuel Adenyo, who is overseeing the day-to-day implementation of the public education interventions says a number of outreach programs have been held in Penyi, Wheta, Dzosec, and other places all in an effort to educate people on the importance of the NHIS, its benefit package and means of seeking redress should they be dissatisfied with a particular service. According to him, the reception and feedback from the communities have been encouraging.
“We have programs to engage the younger generation, those in JHS and SHS so that even at their young age they will understand what the NHIS stands for and the need to be part of it,” Mr Adenyo said.
The two institutions, NHIA and KOFIH, last year undertook a joint research into reasons why enrollment in some parts of the country was low. Findings suggested that residents in some selected areas had difficulty accessing NHIS offices for registration due to the long distances they had to travel. This was partly due to the vastness of the districts and because some of the areas are so remote, the network connectivity the NHIA depends on to carry out its registration, is poor.
The research also revealed that many people around the countryside have inadequate information on the offering of the Scheme.
The study therefore recommended that the NHIA should increase its registration outlets and also bolster its mobile registration drive to enable many people get access to the centres. It was also recommended that public education be stepped up with the district offices of the Scheme reaching out to communities on what the NHIS offers so they can enroll.
These recommendations are being piloted in two districts of the Volta region namely Kadjebi and Ketu North. While at Kadjebi, satellites have been mounted at vantage points to boost the network connectivity to enhance the registration process, public education activities have been stepped up in Ketu North, thanks to sponsorship from KOFIH.
Mr Adenyo said so far, a number of community durbars have been held at Devego, Agorvie among other places and this will continue for the next several months. According to him, regular radio interviews to chat about the NHIS in the district are held and phone-ins allowed so members of the public ask questions, make complaints and seek explanation to encounters they might have had while trying to register or seek care.
The Ketu North district of the Volta region, has 10 NHIS-credentialed healthcare facilities where members of the National Health Insurance Scheme receive healthcare. The population of the Ketu North District, according to the 2010 Population and Housing Census, is 99,913 representing 4.7 percent of the region’s total population. Meanwhile, less than 50 per cent of this population has been registered onto the NHIS. The intervention is to help improve the enrollment figures so many more people in the district can have access to healthcare.
Nationally, the NHIS has a membership of 11 million and a network of over 4,000 healthcare facilities which provide healthcare services to NHIS card holders.