Benin’s Health Minister, Professor Dorothee Kinde-Gazard says her country has so much respect for Ghana for instituting a National Health Insurance Scheme. The Minister, who led an eight-member Beninois delegation to understudy Ghana’s NHIS told journalists at the end of the one-week tour that her ‘team has learnt a lot’ from the knowledge sharing visit. According to her, she “was particularly impressed about the NHIS Call Centre” and how the whole implementation process of Ghana’s health insurance system was carried out. Professor Kinde-Gazard said their trip to Ghana was at the behest of their President, Dr Yayi Boni who is encouraged by the strides Ghana has made in financing healthcare delivery for its people.
She revealed that Benin is interested in deepening bilateral relations with Ghana and collaboration between the two countries in helping Benin set up its national health insurance system provides a good opportunity to enhance the already buoyant relationship. On his part, the Chief Executive of the NHIA, Mr Sylvester Mensah assured the Beninois Health Minister that the NHIA is willing and able to share experiences in areas they may desire in the context of health insurance. According to him, though Ghana has made significant gains in the area of health insurance, it is worthy to mention a few challenges the NHIS has had.
Mr Mensah mentioned that a “health insurance scheme strives largely on ICT. The ideal situation is to develop your operational dynamics, understand what systems you want to have and as a result, develop an ICT infrastructure and MIS that will fit well into your operations. Anything other than this generates a number of problems including cost.” This according to the Chief Executive is one of the things the NHIA did not get right at the beginning. He also told the visiting delegation that it is crucial to regularly redefine and review the sustainability period of any social health insurance scheme by “looking potentially at the inflows and outflows and also looking at the benefit package, in this way you will be able to redefine sustainability over a time frame depending on the strength of the economy.”