Inclusion of family planning in all NHIS services will save lives

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Dr Stephen Duku

The results of a pilot study on family planning (FP) in Ghana showed that its inclusion in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) benefit program will save more lives, cost and improve contraceptive method use. in women.

Dr Stephen Duku, project leader of the pilot study on including FP services in the NHIS benefit package, at the dissemination workshop in Accra on Thursday, said the research led to a increase in the use of long-term active reversible contraceptives (LARC) and a decrease in the use of short-term reversible active contraceptives (SARC).

Again, the combination of the three interventions consisting of cost elimination, LARC training and demand generation was found to be significantly associated with increased use of LARCs and SARCs by women. insured.

However, the results showed that the removal of reimbursable costs alone cannot lead to the expected increase in the use of LARC by policyholders, but it must be complemented by sustainable generation of demand and training on the LARCs.

Dr Duku said the study was conducted by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in seven districts, to identify the key FP pilot learning process, understanding what people wanted to know about different contraceptives, to generate evidence on the cost as a barrier to adopt, identify and generate evidence on other barriers, and to generate evidence on the financial implications for the NHIS on the effective inclusion of FP overall benefits.

He said it was estimated that the impact on the insured’s health was that he could prevent 228 maternal deaths, 1,248 child deaths and 37,725 unsafe abortions. dollars would be saved by adopting various contraceptive interventions.

This key result, he said, should inform policy makers about investment decisions by viewing FP as a gain rather than a national liability.

Dr Duku said that one of the main recommendations made by the researchers was that FP be included in the NHIS benefit package nationwide as part of a phased implementation and that only methods clinical FPs should be included in the NHIS benefit package.

He also said that LARC capacity building and demand generation should be integrated nationally into the nationwide rollout, while stressing that the products should be procured by the government at the national level. national level and distributed through GHS channels, he said.

He said other recommendations were that FP should not be capitalized on NHIA, but that a case-based tariff should be used to reimburse providers, and demand that the current payment terms for fees. conservation of FP products between facilities and district health management teams are maintained.

Dr Duku said additional proposals have been made that payment of retention fees be made only when NHIA reimburses facilities for FP services, while current arrangements for accessing FP in facilities should. be maintained with the NHIS identity number registered in the register of insured customers.

The study requested that the decision to include FP in all NHIS services take into account all the recommendations mentioned and ensure that the national deployment of FP across all NHIS services involves all stakeholders for effective and sustainable implementation, he said.

Dr Asenso Boadi, Director of GHS, said the two-year pilot project was carried out in Upper East (Bolgatanga and Bawku West), Ashanti (Municipality of Obuasi), Volta (Adaklu) and Central (Ekumfi, Mfantseman), and in three control districts involving Upper Denkyira East and West, as well as in Mamprusi West.

The workshop brought together stakeholders, in particular; traditional leaders, policy makers, GHS officials, the National Health Insurance Authority as well as some development partners.

Ms Anne Coolen, Country Director, Marie Stopes Ghana, said different barriers were identified to affect FP, one of which was cost, saying if women were allowed to choose a contraceptive method, they would prefer LARCs. .

Professor Augustine Ankomah, country director of the Population Council, an international organization, noted that if FP was listed on the NHIS, people would be able to freely go to health facilities to access them in order to save lives and ensure quality health.

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