The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) will from July this year rollout free treatment for children with sickle cell and cancer registered with the scheme.
NHIA has adopted Hydroxyurea, a drug commonly used medicine for patients with SCD in developed countries approved by Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority in 2018 for use in both adults and children in Ghana.
Ghana therefore became the first country in Africa to commit to offering the global standard of care for people with SCD when the drugs were finally made available in the country in 2021.
Currently, 15,000 babies of the 950,000 born in Ghana every year have Sickle Cell Disease.
In Ghana, about 1200 children under the age of 15 are estimated to develop cancer annually. In addition to leukaemia, lymphoma, retinoblastoma, Wilms’ tumour, soft tissue sarcoma and neuroblastoma are among the most common forms in the country.
There have been calls by health experts, NGOs for government to put treatment of these expensive to treat diseases on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) .
Speaking at Ofori Panin Fie on Wednesday June 21, 2022 during a visit to Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin ,the Chief Executive Officer for National Health Insurance Authority, (NHIA) Dr. Bernard Okoe – Boye announced that , government has adopted hydroxyurea Sickle cell treatment drug under the scheme for a roll out beginning next month together with treatment of children with cancer to bring relief.
“Through Nana Akuffo Addo, we are coming up with new initiatives, today we have extended the health insurance to cover certain things at first it will not cover. At first the insurance do not cover children who suffers from cancer but now from next month July children with cancer will be treated free once they have registered on the health insurance” he said.
“The second one is about children with sickle cell , There is a special medicine called hydroxyzine urea that we have been able to get through the able leadership of Nana Akuffo Addo, and this medicine when giving to a sickle cell patient it take away the pains and give them the quality of lives they deserve to leave long without any suffering therefore from next month health insurance will take care of sickle cell patients”
Dr.Okoe – Boye also announced that, old men and women above 70 years who register or renew their NHIS card will get instant activation to enable them access free healthcare.
“Our law says if you are 70 years and above and you register for health insurance , you don’t have to pay any premium , you only have to pay processing fees, ghc 5 for rural area dwellers and ghc 7 for those in the cities and it takes one month before your card begins to work so we have realized that it is affecting most of the elders in our society since they get stranded at most hospitals .Because of that ,my board chairman has given me the green light to announce to Ghanaians that from next month if you are 70 years and above and you register your NHIS card, there will be instant card activation for all such persons who fall within that category,” the CEO said.