Dr. Okoe Boye, the National Health Insurance Authority’s (NHIA) Chief Executive Officer, has stated that his organization is committed to including mental health treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme’s benefit package.
Dr. Okoe Boye revealed this at a recent meeting in his office, where representatives from the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) pharmaceutical business congratulated him on his appointment and vowed support for future engagements and collaboration with the NHIA.
He stated that the NHIA has requested data from the Mental Health Authority and is conducting actuarial analysis to determine the feasibility and impact of adding Mental Health Treatment to the NHIS benefit package in order to align with the Akufo-Addo-led government’s efforts to meet UHC targets and coverage for all Ghanaians.
Currently, the NHIS covers roughly 95 percent of illnesses in Ghana, while the other 5% are pushed into medical and financial difficulties.
The government recently approved the treatment of the four most common childhood cancers, namely Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, Burkitt Lymphoma, Retinoblastoma, and Wilms Tumor, to be added to the NHIS benefit package, and is currently working on adding the treatment of sickle cell disease with Hydroxyurea to the NHIS medicine list.
Dr. Okoe Boye applauded President Akufo- Addo’s government for taking steps to guarantee that all Ghanaians have access to comprehensive healthcare and for lowering the financial barriers to doing so.
He took use of the opportunity to push the government and all stakeholders to develop new and long-term measures to increase inflows into the NHIA Fund in order to make it stable and resilient enough to carry additional package inclusions.
The J&J team, led by Kwabena Asante Offei, Snr. Manager, Government Affairs and Policy, West Africa, explained how their groundbreaking research had resulted in new drugs for the treatment of mental health conditions and prostate cancer.
J&J is also interested in working with the NHIA to make its products more available to regular Ghanaians who would otherwise have to pay for such vital medication out of pocket.
Some mental health treatments, for example, can be delivered only twice a year instead of everyday for the treatment of Schizophrenia, resulting in a higher quality of life for patients.
Mrs. Yaa Pokuaa Baiden, Deputy Chief, Administration and Human Resources, Mr. Ben Kusi, Director, Membership and Regional Operations, Mr. Oswald Essuah-Mensah, Head of Corporate Affairs, and Mr. Daniel Blankson, Head of Management Information Systems of the NHIA also contributed to the conversation.