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Pregnant women worried over difficulty in accessing health services with NHIS

Pregnant women using the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to access antenatal services at healthcare facilities in the Talensi and Nabdam districts of the Upper East Region hardly get the required medicines, research has revealed.

The study, conducted by the Rural Initiative for Self-Empowerment Ghana (RISE-Ghana) in 14 health facilities in the two districts revealed various concerns of pregnant women using the NHIS card to access Antenatal Care (ANC) services.

With a sample size of 300 pregnant women, the findings revealed that 51.3 per cent in Nabdam and 33.3 percent in Talensi are faced with challenges of limited medicines using NHIS for antenatal care services.

Also, 17.3 per cent and 38.0 per cent in Nabdam and Talensi, respectively, have expressed concern over co-payments while 18.7 per cent in Nabdam and 5.3 percent in Talensi are said to have limited knowledge on the NHIS policy coverage.

Madam Jaw-haratu Amadu, the Programmes Manager of RISE-Ghana, made this known to stakeholders, includin
g the Ghana Health Service and the National Health Insurance Authority, when she presented the findings of the research at a data validation meeting in Bolgatanga.

The research, dubbed: ‘Assessing the Utilisation of NHIS by Pregnant women for Antenatal Care Services in the Talensi and Nabdam Districts of the Upper East Region,’ aimed at evaluating the utilisation of the Scheme for antenatal care services in the two districts.

It was also to examine the proportion of the pregnant women with active NHIS membership, determining the antenatal care services covered by the Scheme and their level of satisfaction in its usage for antenatal care.

The research formed part of the STAR Ghana Foundation Gender Rights and Empowerment Project (G-REP) being implemented in the two districts by RISE-Ghana with funding support from the Foreign, Common Wealth and Development Office.

Madam Amadu said though all the respondents were active members of the NHIS and had expressed some appreciable level of satisfaction over the us
age of the Scheme, the gaps identified in the research were major concerns of the respondents and needed to be addressed to improve maternity healthcare service delivery.

She, therefore, called on stakeholders to work together to close the gaps that were affecting maternal health care delivery as identified by the research.

Mr Mohammed Awudu, the District Manager of NHIS for Talensi/Nabdam, noted that the scheme had devised multiple ways in educating its customers about the policy coverage, however, the findings meant that more work needed to be done in sensitising the public.

He said despite concerns over the NHIS, it was the best thing that could happen to anyone with regards to health delivery in the country and called on Ghanaians to enroll onto the scheme as it worked to close the gaps for improved services.

Madam Maria Mahama, the Nabdam District Director, Ghana Health Services, said the research findings were not different from the reality and RISE-Ghana deserved commendation for its effort in unde
rtaking the study.

As service providers, the research had given them information and direction as to what to do to improve health care delivery, she said, and that the Directorate would highlight the gaps to midwives for improved services.

‘This research has come to show that most of our clients don’t even know why they are receiving certain services and what to pay for and what not to,’ Madam Mahama said.

‘So for me this is an eye opener for us as service providers to sensitize our clients about the basic information they need to know with the services we are providing them.’

Source: Ghana News Agency