The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has announced the inclusion of childhood cancers in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) benefit.
The NHIS benefit package, she said, are Burkitt Lymphoma (bone marrow cancer often found in the jaw),Wilms Tumour (cancer of the kidney), Retinoblastoma (cancer of the back of the eye) and Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (cancer of the blood).
Mrs Akufo-Addo disclosed these at the launch of the second NHIS week celebration in Accra, yesterday, on the theme: “Using the Ghana Card for expanding access to health care”.
She said the addition of childhood cancers to the NHIS benefit package would improve survival of children with cancers.
“The addition of childhood cancer to the NHIS Benefit Package is essential. It is cost effective, feasible and can improve survival of children with cancers. Indeed our children deserve to live long productive lives, to enable them compete successfully with any other child in the world,” Mrs Akufo-Addo said.
According to the First Lady, it had taken many years of advocacy, investment and great leadership to bring the inclusion of childhood cancers to bear, and commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government for making it a reality.
Mrs Akufo-Addo called for more awareness to be created for early detection of childhood cancers.
The First Lady said there was there was the need to equip and support research institutions,including those who research into herbal medicines, to improve our country’s capacity to treat and manage cancers”.
The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, said the government was focused on improving infrastructure, equipment and laboratory facilities in the health sector.
He said upon assumption of office in 2017, the government had consistently supported NHIS operations, and assured that NHIS finances were released on time to solve the problem of unpaid bills to healthcare providers.
“The smooth operationalisation of the NHIS is government’s major priority,” the minister stated.
The Chief Executive of National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Dr Lydia Dsane Selby, said the NHIS remained a cardinal instrument in the provision of comprehensive healthcare services to Ghanaians.
She said “we began our campaign to increase NHIS membership last year, when we successfully introduced the linkage of the NHIS card with the Ghana card. This year, we have continued with the momentum from this digital innovation to rigorously include every resident with a Ghana card onto the NHIS”.
Dr Selby said the NHIA sought to expand service provision, through evidence-based and data driven modifications to the NHIS benefit package.
“The linkage of the NHIS card with the Ghana card will provide the opportunity to plan preventive healthcare services and to make these services available to NHIS members,” she said.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR AND JESSEL LARTEY THERSON-COFIE
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