President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has lauded Former President John Agyekum Kufuor for his visionary leadership in establishing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
President Akufo-Addo gave the commendation, in a speech read on his behalf, by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at the launch of the 15th Anniversary Commemoration of the Scheme at the Jubilee House, in Accra.
He said the NHIS was a novel idea that had won the admiration of countries all over the world who till date continued to visit Ghana to understudy how the scheme was put together and its achievements so far.
“Ghana’s Health Insurance scheme is a toast of many Governments and continues to be the beacon of health insurance models not only on the African continent but worldwide,” President Akufo-Addo said.
He recounted that since Ghana’s independence in 1957, conscious efforts had been made by governments to address the healthcare needs of Ghanaians through various mechanisms, aimed at lowering the financial barriers to healthcare for our people.
“I recall the harsh days of the 80’s and 90’s where cash and carry was the most preferred option by the Government of the day to fund healthcare services in this country,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
“We as a people struggled with this cash and carry system until 2003, when after winning power, Ghana’s NHIS, a critical social intervention scheme was passed by an Act of Parliament, Act 650 (2003) under the leadership and direction of (former President) Kufuor.
“This was really a landmark piece of legislation, and it took visionary leadership to achieve this. The existence of the NHIS is a testament to President Kufuor’s vision and tenacity.”
He said in September of the same year, there was a lot of debate about the introduction of a 2.5 percentage of tax levied on goods and services through the value added tax (VAT) system as earmarked funds to serve as the main source of funding for the NHIS.
After the prolonged debates, the innovative funding mechanism was adopted and this had since become the backbone of funding for the Scheme, he explained.
He said Act 650, 2003 was later revised to become, ACT, 2012 (ACT 852).
The President said the Budget Statement for 2019 had since decoupled the VAT from the Levy to give a bit more space to the NHIS.
This year coming 2019, marks the 15th Anniversary since the enactment of the law that began Ghana’s journey to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The event is under the theme “The Path to UHC in Ghana: Innovating for a Sustainable NHIS”.
The President explained that the concept of UHC had been defined by the WHO as a system of allocating healthcare resources to all citizens of a country in such a way that everyone was covered for basic health care services of prevention, treatment, promotion, rehabilitation and palliative care without financial restrictions.
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