The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has launched the 2018 edition of the National Family Planning Awareness Week with an announcement that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is in the process of extending coverage to Family Planning services.
At a press launch this afternoon in Accra, the Director General of the GHS, Dr. Anthony Nsia-Asare, said the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) law has been amended to pave way for the inclusion of the Family Planning services in the NHIA in the next review. This inclusion will make the services free of charge at all public and private health facilities.
Currently, Family Planning services and commodities are not on the coverage list of the NHIS. Government, through the GHS and other partners have worked hard to encourage the patronage of Family Planning among the populace, but while there have been gains, the results have not been underwhelming.
Despite 99% of Ghana’s populace being enlightened on FP, the country is behind the national target of FP services and commodities uptake. The 2017 maternal survey report, showed that use of modern contraceptive methods among married women is 25%, just a 3% increase from 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey Report of 22%. According Dr. Nsia-Asare, this means Ghana is far away from achieving a national target of 30% contraceptive usage by 2020.
The same 2014 demographic report also said there is 30% and 42% contraceptive usage among married women and unmarried women respectively and that this means that one third of all married women and more than half of sexually active single women are not using any method of contraception.
But the GHS DG pointed out that Family Planning is very important because it is one of three main strategies used globally for reducing maternal mortality. He said that, this is why government is dedicated to promoting FP among the populace.
Already, in preparation for the inclusion of FP services under and commodities under NHIS coverage, the NHIA, Population Council and Marrie Stopes International, a development partner, have began a two year pilot in 7 implementing districts. Results from the pilot will inform modalities for full implementation.
As part of Key strategies being implemented, the government has since 2015 been establishing FP regional resource teams in all regions, and these have contributed to training of 4000 auxiliary nurses in rural communities across the country. The result is that contraceptive usage in rural Ghana has outstripped usage in the urban centers.
This afternoon, Dr. Nsiah-Asare led the GHS and other collaborating partners, including the UNFPA, to launch the 2018 National Family Planning Awareness Week. This edition is under the theme: “Family Planning Everyone’s responsibility #every baby.”