An eight-member technical delegation from Senegal, are in Ghana to understudy the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Leader of the team, Mamadou Racine Senghor, told journalists on Monday in Accra that, their one week visit is to afford them the opportunity to learn from Ghana's experience and speed up their process of implementing their own form of health insurance.
According to him, the team will be seeking to acquire lessons in clinical audit, database management, biometric system and the instant issuance of cards.
Other areas of their interest include claims management, policy monitoring and evaluation, credentialing and provider payment methods.
Mamadou Senghor, also the deputy Chief Executive of Senegal's Universal Healthcare Coverage Agency, voiced his country's appreciation to Ghana.
“The government of Senegal and the people are happy and well-informed about the help that Ghana’s NHIS is providing our country in terms of technical assistance. Our choice of Ghana is because of the great work we see you do, providing financial access to healthcare to your people and we are confident that after this tour, Senegal will be able to see its way clearer,” he said at the opening of their one week study visit.
Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Nathaniel Otoo, welcomed the team, and expressed Ghana's willingness to help in providing technical assistance to Senegal.
He thanked them for their confidence in Ghana's system and said various technocrats at the NHIA will take turns to share lessons with them during their study.
He said it is laudable that Senegal is embarking on the journey to provide health insurance for its people. He however cautioned that the road to achieving the objective may not always be smooth.
“Ghana aspires to bring healthcare to its entire populace and this is being done through different vehicles. Financing of healthcare is one of these vehicles and that is what we do here at the NHIA. We have had our fair share of successes and challenges. But the challenges haven't put us off,” Mr Otoo averred.
The NHIA boss mentioned that, the NHIS currently has a membership of 11.3million with a network of over 4,000 service providers across the country comprising public health facilities, private providers and faith-based healthcare institutions.
According to him, the enthusiasm many people show every day in enrolling onto the Scheme is heart-warming.
Mr. Otoo said sustainability of health financing schemes remains a big challenge across the globe, and it was important for the Senegalese health system to have a clear idea of fairly sustainable funding sources even before they take off.
He informed the delegation that Ghana's president late last year commissioned a comprehensive review of the Scheme, the first of its kind in the 13-year history of the NHIS.
The review, according to him, will provide Ghanaians the opportunity to re-define the sustainability period of the scheme and re-focus it to meet the nation's most pressing health priorities.
The NHIA in the last couple of years has received over a dozen countries and foreign delegations on similar missions.
The NHIA has said that the example of Ghana in purchasing healthcare makes the country a reference point in the health insurance world.