The Upper West Regional branch of the Coalition of NGOs in Health is calling on the Government to reject the recommendations made by the World Bank in its January, 2012 report titled ?Health Financing in Ghana at a crossroads?.

The Coalition through a project dubbed ?Ghana Free Universal Access to Health Care Campaign? said it did not agree with the World Bank suggestion of cost sharing as a means of bringing financial sustainability to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Mr. Abu Dokuwie Alhassan, a member of the Coalition, made the call in a press statement during the opening of the Civil Society Health Forum on Universal Access to Healthcare in Ghana in Wa on Tuesday.

In the report, the World Bank argued that the NHIS Basic Benefit Package (BBP) was financially unsustainable and recommended to the Government of Ghana to consider cost-sharing if it is to continue providing the comprehensive BBP.

It further recommended the use of co-payments for some covered services and sections of the populations who are able to pay as a strategy to increase NHIS revenue and directing utilisation towards more cost effective services.

The World Bank also expressed dissatisfaction about the fact that the NHIS was highly subsidized and therefore recommended that the share of government?s allocation to the health sector should remain the same.

Additionally, the World Bank calculated that Ghana?s out of pocket payment of 37% as percentage of total health expenditure was more than the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of 15-20% and that health related financial protection in Ghana was worse than other Low Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

The Coalition said it was wrong for the World Bank to say Government should not increase its financial allocation to health sector because it claimed the economy was fragile.

The Coalition said Ghana?s economy had survived the HIPC era and grew from 4% in 2009 to about 13% in 2012.

The Coalition said they were curious to know if the World Bank wanted Ghana to reduce expenditure when the above issues indicated a grim on population, health and financial risk protection.

The Coalition advised the World Bank to reconsider its stand on the cost sharing proposal as a means of ensuring financial sustainability of the NHIS.

Although the Coalition equally shared in the belief that the NHIS as currently constructed could not achieve Universal Coverage for health care in Ghana, going to a cost-sharing model would threaten the gains already made by the NHIS.

Source: GNA

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