The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection last Wednesday launched a nationwide exercise to register beneficiaries of the Livelihood Employment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) free of charge across the country.
This follows the successful implementation of a pilot registration exercise in the Shai Osudoku and Ada West districts in the Greater Accra Region in March this year.
The free NHIS registration exercise is in fulfilment of one of the specific objectives of LEAP which seeks to increase access to healthcare among beneficiaries and to ensure that LEAP beneficiaries do not use their social grants to pay for healthcare.
It is being implemented in collaboration with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) for the registration of indigents onto the NHIS.
Speaking at the national launch in Accra yesterday, the sector Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, said 214,067 beneficiaries of the LEAP would be registered onto the scheme by December, 2016.
“As a government, we are happy that more poor and vulnerable people will get access to quality health through this initiative. This, we believe, will enhance the employability of people and increase their earning capabilities. They will not be left at the mercy of a cash-and-carry system for quality healthcare,” she said.
She added that the Gender Ministry was working to enrol 250,000 households onto the programme by the end of the year.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the NHIA, Mr Nathaniel Otoo, said the authority had over the years enrolled onto the scheme 1.2 million vulnerable people in the society free of charge in furtherance of its objective of reaching out to the poor.
He said that group included the aged, schoolchildren on the school feeding programme, prisoners, and head porters, among others.
Touching on the ongoing comprehensive review of the scheme, he said it had proposed that coverage be extended to 100 per cent of the population with a guaranteed primary, maternal and child health coverage.
In addition, he said beneficiaries of free LEAP-NHIS registration would renew their cards every two years instead of annually.
In his address, the Municipal Chief Executive of La-Nkwantanang Madina Municipal Assembly, Mr Franklin Anku, said 444 households were benefiting from the LEAP programme in the municipality.