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Upper West Region tops in NHIS population coverage

The Upper West Region tops all the 16 regions in the 2023 National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) population coverage, Mr Samuel Lobber Lekamwe, the Acting Upper West Regional Director of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), has announced.

He said 772,941 people, representing 81.9 per cent of the 943,448 projected population of the region, were covered by the NHIS within the year under review against its 81 per cent coverage recorded in 2022.

Mr Lekamwe added that the region remained the lead region in the country in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in membership coverage.

He said the region achieved 772,941 of its target of 856,429 for 2023, representing 90.3 per cent.

Mr Lekamwe announced this in Wa at the weekend during the Authority’s 2023 end-of-year performance review meeting held on the theme: ‘Eighty Per cent Population Coverage in All Districts – The New Targeting Metric’.

The Bono Region came second with coverage of 1,013,392 out of a total population of 1,269,837, representing 79.8 p
er cent while the Ahafo Region came third with NHIS coverage of 435,898 out of a population of 580,589, representing 75.1 per cent coverage.

For the district coverage, Wa Municipality came first by achieving 97 per cent of its 2023 annual target of 174,019, followed by Wa East District which achieved 96 per cent of its 72,216 target, while the Lawra Municipality achieved 77 per cent of its target of 90,918 falling at the bottom of the chart.

Mr Lekamwe commended the staff of the Wa Municipality and other good-performing districts for their part in ensuring the region sustained its gains in the NHIS coverage.

The NHIA Regional Director said 31 per cent of the total membership renewals of the scheme were through mobile renewals.

‘That means if the NHIA was not innovative, and with the kind of staffing situation we have, 31 per cent of the members we have today would not have been our members’, Mr Lekamwe explained.

He encouraged the public to take advantage of the *929# mobile renewal platform and the NHIA
mobile application to renew or register to benefit from the NHIS package.

He indicated that the NHIS prioritises the vulnerable groups in society by ensuring that such groups of people are registered for free.

He said 280, 182 of such people were registered within the year under review.

Mr Lekamwe indicated that the region had set for itself a target of 886,005 membership coverage for 2024, representing 91.8 per cent of the region’s population.

He explained that they would enhance their strategies to achieve their membership targets, intensify quarterly outreach programmes, intensify public education on e-platforms and enhance institutional registrations among others in 2024.

He said illegal fee charges by accredited health service providers was eroding member confidence, poor mobile networks affecting mobile registration and renewal, and poor road networks affecting community visitations and inadequate vehicles, among others, were some challenges affecting the work of the Authority.

Mr Titus Sorey, the
NHIA Northern Belt Director, commended the Upper West Regional office of the Authority for the success chalked and standing tall not only within the Belt but the country at large.

He assured the NHIA Regional Director and his team that the challenges confronting them would be attended to accordingly.

Mr Sorey urged the staff of the authority to increase their public education to empower the members of the scheme to challenge illegal charges at NHIA-accredited facilities.

‘Let’s inform our people, let them know what is covered and what is not covered because we know we cover about 95 per cent of the conditions.

How can you say this condition is covered but the medicine for it is not covered, what are you treating, it doesn’t just add up to me’, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency