Home grown health insurance best for Africa – Dr. Asamoah Baah
He said such insurance should have governments exhibiting their role effectively without relying on external support in order not to compromise its operations and implementations.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at the just ended First Pan African Health Congress on Universal Coverage held in Accra, Dr Asamoah Baah said that for such home grown health insurance schemes to work effectively and ensure their sustainability, countries must be bold to improve on tax collections and compliance, and look for innovative health financing as well as creating new tax or mandatory contributions in the formal sector.
African countries, he said, had a discourse and informal sector had a large proportion of the population that needed to be captured.
“Evidence from Ghana and Tanzania show that mandatory is possible and indirect taxes are more possible and progressive,” he noted.
The congress, the first of its kind, was under the theme “Creating a Movement for Universal Coverage in Africa through Health Insurance” and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Health Organisation.
It initiated a dialogue between government ministers, stakeholders and experts on policies which aims to strengthen and expand National Health Insurance Schemes in Africa.
The Congress also provided an opportunity for international agencies including the World Bank, the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS to share ideas.
Dr Asamoah Baah said it was essential to create fiscal space to pursue innovative financing and open up debate and an evidence-based system on how to raise revenue for those outside the formal sector.
He described Ghana’s insurance system as “very innovative and unique because of its tax-based financing, social health insurance, community–based and the earmarked funds, which constituted over 83 per cent of the total inflows.
He called on Ghana’s Health Insurance Authority to put in measures such as cost containment and additional funding sources internally and ensure clinical audits, which he described as very critical for the smooth re-payments of claims.
The WHO Deputy Director-General called on health professionals to ensure that they offered quality care services as government ensured that the required inputs for service delivery were provided.