Four childhood cancers included in NHIS benefit package

Four childhood cancers have been included in the benefit package of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) set to be rolled out soon.

These include Neuroblastoma (childhood cancer of the jaw and abdomen), Leukemia (childhood cancer of the blood), Retinoblastoma (childhood cancer of the eye) and Wilms Tumor (childhood cancer of the kidney).

The move was part of efforts to expand the Scheme and take care of the financial stress in the treatment of the diseases and its related effects and also help in early detection and treatment.

Mr Kasimu Abudulai, Upper East Acting Regional Director of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), has revealed to the Ghana News Agency through an interview in Bolgatanga.

Research has shown that, approximately, 400,000 children and adolescents globally are diagnosed with cancer annually and about 1,200 children under 15 years in Ghana are estimated to develop cancer annually.

According to Mr Kasimu, most of the cancers were curable when detected and treated early, however, only few children received such treatment due to high cost.

He noted that the Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service was in the process of identifying health facilities that had the capacity to administer treatment of the diseases.

“A list of health facilities that can provide comprehensive services of these diseases is being prepared and so very soon a policy statement will come out on that so that we will all know these facilities that can render these services.

“Cancers are not that easily treated so as to whether in the Upper East Region here there are facilities that can treat these cancers, I cannot tell yet because it is a technical matter,” he said.

Mr Kasimu noted that the family planning services which were included in the Scheme and piloted in some selected districts would be scaled up to all the districts across the country.

He said findings from the pilot project revealed that when the family planning was fully accessible on the Scheme in all the districts, it would help save lives, save cost and increase to family planning methods.

“The data was analyzed and it revealed that there is benefit in the family planning services we need to add demand creation and training of service providers. So, as we roll out there will be the conscious effort to train the providers to administer the methods that are covering and we try to demystify the misconceptions surrounding the methods,” he added.

Mr Kasimu therefore urged members of the public to enroll unto the Scheme and renew their cards to take full advantage of the benefits it offers to help improve access to health care.

Source: GNA

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