National Health Insurance launches new medicines list

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) yesterday February 9, 2011, launched a new medicines list to serve as a guide to service providers under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The list, which will come into effect from March 1, 2011, contains 552 different medicines that could treat about 95 per cent of disease conditions in Ghana.

At the launching, ceremony in Accra, the Minister of Health, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, said there had been new additions to the existing list to improve the quality of health of the people.

He mentioned some beneficial medicines which had been added to the new list as sulfadoxine+ pyrimethamine tablets 525 mg for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy and zinc tablets for the treatment of diarrhea in children.

The inclusion of the two medicines is to help in the country’s drive towards achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5.

Mr Chireh, who himself is a pharmacist, explained that the medicines list was to serve as it guideline to prescribers so that they would not over-subscribe, a situation he said could be harmful and also confuse patients.

He added that the provision of the list was not to make the work of prescribers difficult but rather improve access to quality health care, promote rational use of medicines and contain cost to the NHIS.

In his presentation, the Director of Research at the NHIA, Mr O. B. Acheampong, indicated that as the list had new additions, some of the medicines had been excluded because there were other sources under which users could benefit.

He mentioned such medicines to include those for childhood immunisation, for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB), child delivery care and also for mental health care.

He also indicated that anaesthetic medicine had also been exempted from the list, since it was to be added to the tariffs to be charged by providers.

He stated that the list was based on World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, adding that the work was done with all stakeholders who worked within the NHIS.

In his welcome address, the Chief Executive of the NHIA, Mr Sylvester Mensah, apologised for the delay in coming up with the list and gave an assurance that the next one would be pre­pared on time.

The chairperson for the occasion, who is also a member of the NHIA board, Mrs Czarina Ribeiro, talked about the importance of the medicines list and advised that service providers should work with it to ensure efficient healthcare delivery.

Source: Daily Graphic

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