Robust deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will solve 80 per cent of the “unacceptable transparency” challenges of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The Executive Secretary of the scheme, Mohammed Sambo, said this when he visited the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, according to a Tuesday statement by Ayo Osinlu, the NHIS spokesperson.
Over the years, the NHIS has failed to develop an effective ICT system, resulting in challenges and bottlenecks such as ghost enrollees.
In 2017, about 23,000 ghost enrollees were removed from the NHIS system after a routine check by an ICT team deployed by the former executive secretary, Usman Yusuf.
Effective use of ICT can aide service delivery of health insurance.
Ghana introduced a Mobile-based Renewal Application System for the country’s NHIS in June. The system allows enrollees to renew their membership from the comfort of their homes with the aid of mobile wallet-enabled phones.
The system has boosted enrollment, the Ghanaian authorities said.
Tuesday’s statement said Mr Sambo intimated Mr Oloriegbe with his plan to deploy a robust ICT to drive the reform agenda of the NHIS.
He said ICT will “afford us the platforms for effective, real-time monitoring and evaluation.”
Mr Sambo also highlighted “ten action points from the white paper on the Independent Fact-Finding Panel that investigated the recent crisis in the organisation as additional undertakings of the government aimed at repositioning the scheme, particularly in the areas of staff audit, financial management systems, procurement, internal audit and labour relations.
“He requested the assistance of the Senate Committee on Health, through legislative and advocacy engagements, for the on-going efforts to rebrand and reposition NHIS as a result-oriented public institution, operating effectively as a tool for reform of the nation’s healthcare delivery system”, the release noted.
In his remarks, Mr Oloriegbe congratulated the scribe of NHIS, describing his appointment as critical for the agency and the nation “especially at this time”.
He said there is mounting pressure for practical and quick results from the organisation under the new leadership, and, therefore, “promised the full and consistent support of the committee and indeed the 9th Senate.
“Senator Oloriegbe advised the NHIS helmsman to give immediate attention to the challenges of the Scheme, particularly in the areas of human resources, stakeholder interests and minimal coverage.”
Mr Sambo, a professor, resumed as NHIS Executive Secretary about a month ago after his predecessor, Mr Usman was sacked for alleged fraud and misconduct.
As part of the rebranding agenda, the NHIS is set to hold a two-day strategic meeting with enrollees and health service providers in Abuja on Wednesday and Thursday.