The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the establishment of a Centre for Universal Health Coverage (CUHC).
Ghana, though has been practicing health insurance for over a decade now, has no formal institution to assist in training people on the rudiments of health financing. Though the operations of the NHIS in Ghana over the years have churned out a lot of data, no dedicated institution exists to utilize the available information through research to enhance healthcare delivery in the country.
The Centre for Universal Health Coverage will be tasked to provide training and education in topics related to Universal Health Coverage, promotive and preventive health, enroll the expertise of local and international experts in the areas of teaching and research in UHC. The MoU also covered the provision of consultancy services to both local and international clients in related subjects.
Vice Chancellor of the UPSA, Professor Joshua Alabi at the signing ceremony expressed the confidence that their collaboration with the NHIA will yield results “to serve the people of this country, continent and the world at large.”
He mentioned that UPSA in the last few years has set up a number of Centres including the Drolor Centre for Strategic Leadership and the Otumfuor Centre for Traditional Leadership to contribute to national efforts to train the needed manpower for leadership at various sectors of the economy. According to him, the collaboration with the NHIA which will lead to the setting up of a Centre for Universal Health Coverage will help fill in the gaps in leadership training and research in the health sector.
Professor Alabi said the NHIS since its establishment has performed creditably in providing financial risk protection against the cost of basic healthcare for residents in the country. “When you travel outside the country to other parts of the world you realize that our NHIS is one of the best but it has become part of us not to recognize our own,” he observed.
Chief Executive of the NHIA, Sylvester Mensah pointed out that the collaboration with the University will help in catering for the learning needs of staff, management of the NHIS and Ghanaians in general.
According to him, the NHIS serves as a hub for learning and knowledge sharing and the scheme “is fast becoming a leading global model. In the last year alone, we had well over ten countries all over the world visiting to understudy our scheme and seek partnerships with us.” According to him, considering the promise of the scheme, the gap of a lack of an institution to meet the training and research needs of the staff and the general public in respect of health insurance and financing must be filled.
Mr Mensah who was hopeful that the collaboration will yield results in this regard, thanked the University for the gesture and said the NHIA placed a lot of value on the relationship. He mentioned that the “component of theory and research the academic institution (UPSA) provides will support what we do.”
The Chief Executive regretted that no institution in Ghana provides learning or curriculum on health insurance and expressed the hope that the Centre for Universal Health Coverage will be a one-stop shop for learning and training on health insurance and become the hub for international training for health insurance.
Members of the UPSA academic board and some directors of the NHIA witnessed the signing ceremony.