Oxfam, Local NGOs Slam Ghana's Health Insurance System

A health insurance scheme in Ghana, which the World Bank is describing as a successful model that should be replicated in other developing countries, is deeply flawed, Oxfam International and several Ghanaian non-governmental organizations claim in a new report.

Fewer than one in five people are benefiting from the health insurance program, which the World Bank and Ghanaian government say covers approximately two-thirds of the country’s population, the report, titled Achieving a Shared Goal: Free Universal Health Care in Ghana, states.

The report adds that most Ghanaians still pay out of their pockets for their health care or else rely on unqualified drug vendors or give birth at home without quality health care.

“The World Bank should check its facts on Ghana. This inaccurate information should not be used to sell what is actually an unfair and inefficient system of paying for health-care to other developing countries such as Uganda, Zambia and Nepal,” argues Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s health policy adviser.

She says Ghana is well positioned to overhaul its health insurance program and “replace it with a tax-based system that would give free health care to all its citizens at a lower cost.” The World Bank should support the government in such an initiative, Marriott says.

“Government’s clear political commitment to health is very welcome but bolder changes are now urgently required to accelerate progress. The government must move to a national health system free at the point of delivery for all - a service based on need and rights and not ability to pay,” adds Bishop Akolgo, who works for the Integrated Social Development Centre, or ISODEC, a local NGO.

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  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.