Health Ministry Takes Steps to Address its NHF Debt

The senior executive management of the Ministry of Health has taken note of media concerns about the viability of the National Health Fund, NHF, based on a report from the Auditor General’s Department.

The Ministry takes seriously the NHF’s imperative to assistance to persons, initially, to purchase specific prescription drugs used in the treatment and management of designated chronic illnesses and it mandate to assist with projects that support primary health care. As such, discussions about reform to protect the NHF and its mandate are taking place within the Ministry. The public will be kept informed about the deliberations.

At a preliminary meeting at the Ministry, the rising cost of drugs was raised as an area that requires special attention. The Health Minister noted some of proposed reforms to the public health sector are critical at this point. They include:

  • Reducing the vital, essential and necessary (VEN) list of drugs that is procured by the National Health Fund (NHF). This is expected to save the country billions of dollars.
  • Work has started on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). As the Government seeks to transitions from the emphasis on being a provider and more the role of purchaser of health service, national health insurance is a fundamental reform of the health financing system.
  • A ten-year strategic plan that will include:
    • Updated Situational Analysis
    • Revised Standard Comprehensive Essential Benefits Package (SCEBP)
    • A Human Resources Plan
    • An Administrative Restructuring Plan
    • An Infrastructure Improvement and Procurement Plan
    • Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Metrics for the ten-year Strategic Plan
    • A three-year implementation plan

 

The public will be updated at intervals on this plan of action.