February 22, 2021 5:26 pm

The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) in collaboration with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), has commenced a nationwide mass exercise to register all LEAP beneficiaries onto the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The registration exercise is targeted at all LEAP beneficiary household members who do not have NHIS cards or whose NHIS cards have expired or are close to expiring. Beneficiaries who have also lost or damaged their NHIS cards would also have their cards replaced.

The registration of LEAP beneficiary household members onto the NHIS and ensuring beneficiaries have a valid NHIS cards forms part of the programme’s objective to promote access to health care services.

In an interview with the Deputy Director of the LEAP Programme, Mr Myles Ongoh, he indicated that, the registration of LEAP beneficiaries onto the NHIS would lead to a considerable reduction in healthcare expenditure for LEAP households.

This would enable LEAP household members to use the cash grant to improve their nutrition and to invest in other productive activities.

“The main objective of the LEAP Program is to reduce poverty by increasing and smoothening consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities among the extremely poor and vulnerable. As such, we believe providing access to healthcare to all 335,000 households on the LEAP Programme would protect households from the potentially catastrophic effects of out-of-pocket health care costs. LEAP recognises that cash transfer alone is not sufficient to address such needs. This calls for the need to introduce some interventions to compliment the cash transfers,” he said.

Myles Ongoh stated further that, LEAP beneficiaries are categorized under the exempt category of the National Health Insurance Act, 2012; Act 852 and as such should not pay any premium or processing fees to register onto the scheme or to renew their expired NHIS cards. He disclosed that at the district level, beneficiaries can now walk into the offices of the District Assembly and the District Social Welfare Officers will facilitate their registration or renewal of their expired NHIS cards.

Myles Ongoh equally noted that as the world is grappling to understand and contain the COVID 19 pandemic, the burden of the disease and its socio-economic shocks is affecting all but the poor and vulnerable such as LEAP beneficiary household members are disproportionately affected. Therefore, this collaborative effort to undertake mass registration and renewal of expired cards is timely and a relief for LEAP beneficiaries.

Myles Ongoh commended the NHIA for their support in helping to provide access to healthcare for LEAP beneficiaries as well as the partnership and collaboration enjoyed from them in the planning of the nationwide registration exercise. He expressed gratitude to the Development Partners, especially the World Bank for providing funding for the registration and renewal exercise.

Richard A. Nartey, the Head of Payment of the LEAP Programme, underscored that without the support and the contribution of the Regional and District Social Welfare Officers, who perform their role as frontline officers, the LEAP-NHIS registration exercise would not have been a reality.

Source: MoGCSP