Ghana Includes Family Planning In NHIS

A beneficiary of free family planning service

Ghana has taken a step further in expanding access to contraceptive usage with the inclusion of family planning services in the benefit package of the National Health Insurance Scheme on a pilot basis.

The test inclusion of family planning in the Scheme’s benefit package for valid NHIS subscribers, which began in May this year, is being carried out in six implementing districts and municipalities with varied demographic/characteristics across the country for the next two years.

The beneficiary areas include Nabdam, Bawku West, Bolgatanga Municipal in the Upper East Region, Obuasi Municipal in the Ashanti Region, Adaklu-Anyigbe District in the Volta Region, and Mankessim in the Central Region.

The beneficiaries are therefore eligible for services, including free contraceptive methods to help women and men plan and space births; prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce the number of abortions; free pregnancy testing and counselling; and free basic infertility services.

Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, announcing this at the launch of the Family Planning Week, said findings from the pilot will inform modalities for operationalization and full implementation of Family Planning in NHIS Benefit Package in future.

“Currently, the 2017 Maternal Health Survey reports that the use of modern contraceptive methods among married women is 25%, a 3 percentage increase from the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey report of 22%. It means that we are far away from achieving our national targets for contraceptive prevalence and the FP 2020 commitments which is 30% by 2020,” he disclosed.

Dr. Nsiah-Asare observed that the Ministry of Health had also dedicated a significant proportion of its support from the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) of about one million dollars to the purchase of family planning commodities.

Similarly, government has allocated 3 million dollars for the procurement of family planning commodities in the 2016-2017 MAF plans and budget while family planning commodities has also been allocated in the health  commodities budget line.

Family Planning Week

Dr. Patrick Aboagye, Director of the Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service, said the family planning week seeks to promote the vision of improving awareness and uptake of contraception to enable individuals including adolescents and couples to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health.

“The launch today officially begins a weeklong celebration of family planning activities across the country by several stakeholders aimed at increasing awareness among the general public on family planning and its benefits not only to the individual but to families, communities and the country as a whole,” he said.

This year’s theme, “Family Planning, Everyone’s Responsibility #everydaything#“echoes the notion that everyone gathered here has a collective role to play to ensure that safe, effective and accurate family planning information and services are accessible to the Ghanaian adolescent, woman and man alike.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri