President Akufo-Addo Announces NHIS to Include Mental Healthcare Coverage
President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that mental healthcare will be included in the benefits provided by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) starting in 2024. This decision is part of the government’s commitment to improving access to professional, affordable, and quality healthcare services for the people of Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo made this announcement during his keynote address at the annual general and scientific meeting of the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra, which also commemorated the college’s 20th anniversary. The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons is a public institution established in 2003 to provide postgraduate medical training in various disciplines.
In addition to the inclusion of mental healthcare, President Akufo-Addo highlighted other measures taken by the government to enhance healthcare access. One such measure is the introduction of technology to simplify NHIS renewal, allowing subscribers to dial *929# on any mobile phone network. The President also mentioned that active NHIS membership has increased to 17.3 million subscribers by the end of last year, compared to 4.3 million at the end of 2016. Furthermore, efforts have been made to improve the payment system, reducing the claims payment duration to just two months in arrears.
President Akufo-Addo also discussed the Agenda 111 project, which aims to provide essential healthcare infrastructure across the country. The project includes the construction of district hospitals, regional hospitals, and psychiatric hospitals. As of now, work is underway on 86 district hospitals, two regional psychiatric hospitals, and the Western Regional Hospital, with completion levels ranging from 52% to 80%.
The President stressed the importance of having specialists in all hospitals to achieve universal health coverage. He urged the college, the Ghana Medical and Dental Council, the Ghana Health Service, and the Ministry of Health to collaborate in ensuring that every doctor who graduates from medical school proceeds to specialize after their house officer training. President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that the training of postgraduate doctors is costly and should be funded by the government, promising to address the reimbursement of the college’s expenses.
Regarding the request for post-retirement contracts for fellows who reach the mandatory retirement age, the President assured that the government is willing to facilitate this to support postgraduate medical training. He encouraged the college and relevant agencies to develop a policy document that outlines the details of these contracts, ensuring measures are in place to prevent abuse.
The Rector of the college, Professor Richard Adanu, highlighted the accreditation of hospitals as specialist training centers and the use of technology to expand decentralized training. Through partnerships with organizations like the World Health Organization and the Tropical Health Educational Trust, trainees across the country can access lectures, electronic journals, and databases.