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Abstract: In 2004, Ghana saw the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), aimed at achieving universal healthcare. The design of the scheme happened under high political pressure and was informed by little technical analysis. Financial sustainability of the scheme soon proved to be a concern and expenditure has consistently outstripped income since 2009. Whilst by no means the only issue, an important area of improvement is the benefits package. The benefits package is generous on paper, with over 95% of the diseases occurring in Ghana covered and no form of co-payment. In practice, the National Health Insurance Authority is on average 9 months behind with reimbursing healthcare providers, which has resulted in the refusal of various facilities to treat NHIS patients. Frequent out-of-pocket payments have been reported. This research work aims to inform a review of the benefits package. The size of the package is to be brought in line with the the budget available for claims reimbursements. Rational prioritisation techniques are used to provide insights into which interventions might best be included in the package. As the research is still ongoing, the talk will focus on the methods more than the results. By highlighting challenges experienced along the way, the talk will offer an insider’s perspective on the on-the-ground reality of conducting research in Ghana. The dynamics of government engagements with ‘outsiders’, including international development organisations, will also be discussed.

Heleen Vellekoop.jpg

Biography: Heleen Vellekoop is working at the Ghanaian Ministry of Health, through a 2-year Fellowship Scheme run by the Overseas Development Institute. She works as a researcher for the Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate. Her research focuses mainly on the National Health Insurance Scheme. Recently, she started a review of the provider payment mechanisms within the scheme. Prior to her Fellowship, Heleen completed the MSc Health Economics at the University of York. She received her undergraduate degree, in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, from the same university. She spent a summer working at the Health Economics Research Unit in Aberdeen, where she worked closely with Professor Mandy Ryan on methodological issues regarding discrete choice experiments.

Time and Date: Wednesday 22nd November 2017, 12:30-1:30 pm
Venue: First Floor Meeting Room, Richard Doll Building, University of Oxford Old Road Campus, Headington, OX3 7LF

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