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Ghana's health insurance experiment

30 October 2008, 17:21

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Experience shows that people matter

Ghana now has a successful health insurance scheme, 75%-funded through taxes. In establishing it, “research was very helpful” says Irene Agyepong, Regional Director of Health Services for Greater Accra. But it had teething problems.

“In the 1990s the Ministry of Health, then led by Director of Medical Services Moses Adibo, said they wanted research on insurance. What he wanted to know was how to provide health insurance in a country with such large non-formal sector and so many poor people?”

A research project was established in Dangme West district. “But then Moses Adibo, who strongly believed research should inform policy, retired. His successor really did not have that kind of interest, so Ministry of Health support funding for the experiment literally dried up.

“So even though it was originated in the mid-90s, it finally took off in 2000, with support from the health unit under Sam Adjei, together with financial assistance from the district’s UNDP poverty reduction unit, WHO AFRO and DANIDA.

“That was possible because although the central interest had been lost, local government and local health sector had retained interest. But it had it meant a lot of scrounging around for new funds to do
the experiment.”

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