Exploring the experiences of National Health Insurance Scheme subscribers and non-subscribers in accessing healthcare within the Accra Metropolitan Area
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Maintaining the health and wellbeing of a nation largely depends on the state of health care policies and programs that guarantees citizens access to health care. Policies and social intervention programs such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) should create an enabling operational environment for health institutions. The study examines the experiences of subscribers and non-subscribers of the National Health Insurance Scheme in accessing health care in the Accra Metropolitan Area (AMA) in Ghana. It identifies the challenges in accessing health care, the resources available to individuals and the other strategies individuals employ in accessing health care. A combination of primary and secondary sources was used to collect data for the study. Using a qualitative research design, twelve participants were sampled using a stratified sampling technique. Interviews conducted revealed that many participants had negative experiences in accessing health care with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Delays in registration processes, long queuing systems at health centres and delays in reimbursement of health centres by the government were some of the core challenges that led to these negative experiences in accessing health care. As a result, many people resort to alternative means to cater for their health needs. The study further revealed that some people utilized the formal health care facilities only in critical conditions due to past negative experiences and perceptions around accessing health care with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). However, the NHIS was seen or perceived as an important mechanism for removing financial barrier to achieving equitable access to health care for all citizens in Ghana. The results further showed that the NHIS has improved access and benefits to maternal and child health services. The study concluded by advocating for an improvement and a rebalance of efforts by decision makers to inculcate more health promotion approaches or concepts in making policies concerning public health.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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