Poor pregnant women are unable to enjoy the full benefits of the Free Maternal Care Programme under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) due to unapproved charges by some health facilities.

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Other facilities also charge between GHc3 and GH¢4 for specimen bottles for laboratory tests and kits for pregnancy tests, respectively.

The study which is titled “Is the National Health Insurance Scheme pro-poor? The need to make inclusive progress on health outcome,” was to assess the extent to which the poor are able to access health care through the NHIS.

The study was conducted in 120 communities selected from 20 districts in the Greater Accra, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.

At the launch of the report in Accra over the weekend, a programme officer of Send-Ghana, Mr Adamu Mukalia, said it was unfortunate that more than 2.2 million people described by the Ghana Statistical Service as extremely poor had not registered on the NHIS.

“Such people, considered as indigent, were to be excluded from the NHIS premium payment,” he added.

He believed quality of health care is being compromised, even though there had been an increase in subscription to the scheme, adding that “this could be attributed to the increased number of people on the scheme, coupled with the financial problems it is experiencing.”

The Executive Director of the Health Insurance Service Providers Association (HISPA), Mr Frank Torblu, has however called for the challenges mentioned to be addressed in order not to collapse the NHIS.