The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has covered the bills of 226 child cancer patients since June last year.
Following the addition of four childhood cancers to the list of ailments covered under the national health financing scheme in June 2022, 136 children with cancers visited designated health facilities between June and December last year, while 90 cancer patients have visited health facilities this year.
The acting Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Abdul Karim Naatogmah, told the Daily Graphic yesterday that most of the child patients visited the health facilities once, mainly Teaching and Regional hospitals, with nine clients making two visits this year, while three others made three visits each.
He, therefore, said that the scheme made reimbursements of about GH¢250,000– GH¢143,143 in 2022 and GH¢100,937 this year.
Mr Naatogmah said the services were provided by a multi-disciplinary team of experts in seven facilities.
They are the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra; Cape Coast Teaching Hospital; Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi; Ho Teaching Hospital; Tamale Teaching Hospital; Greater Accra Regional Hospital, and the Holy Family Hospital in Techiman, the Bono East regional capital.
“This informed the roll-out of coverage in these facilities,” the manager added.
The childhood cancers were acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, burkitt lymphoma, retinoblastoma and wilms tumour.
The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, announced the inclusion of the four most common childhood cancers in November 2021, during the launch of an NHIS Week celebrations.
The inclusion followed an initial actuarial modelling of the scheme’s capacity to absorb the costs of coverage for childhood cancers.
“The commitment of the authority towards the attainment of our goals is unwavering, and all measures will be employed to ensure the full implementation of initiatives in collaboration with stakeholders,” Mr Naatogmah said
The manager further said that in spite of the money paid as reimbursement for childhood cancer services, the NHIA was also aware of changing economic conditions that warranted reviews of the prices and tariffs.
He said that service tariffs and medicine prices were reviewed in February 2023, before the annual due date of July in response to changes in prices.
“These price reviews apply to all other services on the benefit package and is an annual periodic activity that is done in collaboration with stakeholders,” the manager said.
Mr Naatogmah also said that the NHIA was currently in the process of comprehensively reviewing its tariff building blocks to arrive at levels that will support the viability of facilities while ensuring the sustainability of the scheme.
The NHIA, the manager said, was also concerned about claims of unavailability of medicines and consumables at stated prices at some health facilities in the country.
He said the authority would, therefore, engage relevant stakeholders and regulators in the supply chain to ensure quality healthcare services were made accessible to all members of the scheme.