Fellow at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr Kwame Asiedu Sarpong, has called for a systemic overhaul into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Speaking Thursday on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, the Pharmacist stated that health authorities must admit there are challenges bedevilling the implementation of the policy and work towards resolving them since it is the surest way to create a robust health system for the country.

“As for the systemic problems, I have said that we need as a country, to have an honest conversation about NHIS,” he said.

His comment follows revelations made in a documentary produced by Corruption Watch Ghana and aired on the Show, to the effect that pregnant women are made to pay for the cost of prenatal (before birth) and postpartum (after birth) care, contrary to provisions of the National Health Insurance Act, 2012 (Act 852).

Under the NHIS programme, pregnant women are entitled to receive such services at no cost to them.

But the Corruption Watch sponsored documentary, uncovered several instances at various hospitals, where the expectant mothers, were made to pay huge sums of money before being taken care of.

He blamed the outcome partly on failure to admit challenges bedeviling the implementation of the policy.

He contends that health authorities claim services provided under the NHIS are free, yet, that’s not what pertains at various Ghana Health Service (GHS) hospitals.

“This situation where only 5% of the people who are on NHIS, are the ones who are paying and only 37% of the entire population is covered is a hoax.

“And if we don’t, as a country have the true conversation to ensure that the chain is broken and also ensure that majority of Ghanaians are covered, this situation is only going to get worse and it may stifle our quest for universal health coverage,” he added.

He further noted that rigorous public education, revitalization, and other initiatives need to be introduced to halt the extortion of money from pregnant women.