The Ghana National
Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is to assure equitable and universal access for
all residents of Ghana to an acceptable quality package of essential health
care services without out-of pocket payment. The objective of this study is to
examine the perceptions and experiences of health care providers and clients in
the Upper East Region of Ghana regarding the NHIS. The study was
cross-sectional and Patient exit interviews, in-depth interviews and focus
group discussions (FGDs) were used to collect data. The NHIS was seen by all
participants of the study to be beneficial. It led to an increase in the
utilization of health care services for the insured and mobilized health
resources for facilities. Insured clients reported verbal abuse, long waiting
times, not being physically examined and discrimination in favour of the
uninsured and the rich. Providers think that the insured were abusing their
services by frequenting the facilities, and sometimes faking illness to collect
drugs for their uninsured relatives. The biggest challenge was the delay in
reimbursement of claims as a result; providers were not able to purchase drugs
and non-drug supplies threatening the sustainability of the NHIS.
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