The Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) says they are taking steps to restructure the Scheme to accommodate screening and treatment of cervical cancer. 

Dr Lydia Dsane-Selby told Daniel Dadzie, host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday that the Authority is figuring out “who can offer the service with quality and in a safe way for good outcomes.”

A consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr Titus Beyuo, has called for primary prevention care against cervical cancer to be placed under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to reduce a mass loss of life to cervical cancer.

He told Joy FM last Monday after the premiere of JoyNews’ latest documentary titled ‘Cervix in Crisis’, that “if we rolled this out on a national level we are going to pick up people in the very early stages and deal with it [the disease].”

Research has shown that four women in Ghana die daily from cervical cancer because the cancer has developed to an advanced stage.

While cervical cancer is part of the benefits package for members of the Scheme, preventive treatment such as screening is still paid for by patients at several healthcare service providers across the country.

However, cervical cancer is a highly preventable disease which has a development window of 10 to 15 years before it gets to advanced stages, providing enough time to detect and treat.

Dr Beyuo explained that either most people wait too long to report to the doctor because of rumours, spiritual beliefs about cervical cancer or they simply cannot afford the medical care.

Speaking about the development on the Super Morning Show, the NHIA boss, Dr Lydia Dsane-Selby said although the cancer is on their list, they are yet to restructure to accommodate screening and treatment.

“The challenge is who is able to provide that service, are there quality measures in place to make sure the proper treatment protocols and guidelines are covered, patient safety, qualified oncologists to deal with this,” she added.

She also advised members of the Scheme that if “you have your regular healthcare provider, there are certain things providers should do for you as part of being your healthcare provider.”

This includes the recommended yearly pap smear test, she said.

“If you are tied to a healthcare provider, he can track and see that you have not had a pap smear for the past five years and can follow up with you to say come in for a check-up,” she continued.