Ghana: mTOMADY to work with NHIS to boost access to healthcare
Mobile healthcare payments platform mTOMADY is preparing to expand to Ghana in cooperation with the country’s National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).
A pilot will be conducted in Kumasi, Ghana, to test the integration of mTOMADY with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in cooperation with the Berlin Institute of Technology and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Beneficiaries will use mTOMADY to save, receive and send money to pay NHIS premiums as part of a drive to improve health coverage rates.
mTOMADY was first launched as a project of the NGO Doctors for Madagascar. It provides a digital platform that enables the secure exchange of healthcare payments and data by connecting beneficiaries, health care providers and payers via mobile money infrastructure. Beneficiaries need a SIM card to access health information and financing which can then be used to cover health costs.
- The project says that its approach means more of the population has healthcare access, reduces costs, and increases operational efficiency for healthcare providers.
- Ghana’s NHIS continues to face challenges, especially financing issues, according to Fitch. The scheme suffers from an insufficient subsidy base, does not cover all diseases and often only pays for part of the overall care for a patient.
- In 2018, the country launched one of the first interoperability systems in Africa, the Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GHIPSS) platform, allowing mobile phone users to send funds across mobile money networks.
In Madagascar, mTOMADY is supporting the ministry of health’s efforts to improve the accessibility of health coverage schemes in low-income and remote communities. Only 14% of the population have some form of health coverage according to a 2018 USAID Shops Plus Report. mTOMADY’s average claim value is approximately US$6.
Globally, mTOMADY says, around 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty because of health-related expenditures each year.
- The company says that poor countries in Africa face low health coverage rates, widespread out-of-pocket payments, and high risks of medical impoverishment.
- Business risk due to fraud for health insurers is also a serious issue.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, medical expenses push 1.6% of the population into extreme poverty every year, and in some countries, hospitals detain patients for non-payment of fees.
The project argues that its solution eliminates out of pocket payments, and makes it easier to afford and obtain health coverage. Furthermore, mobile phone-enabled premium payment and policy administration improves health coverage especially for those in remote areas. For healthcare providers, mTOMADY provides efficient invoicing processes, reduces payment delays, and cuts the risk of fraud.
COVID-19 has turned smart health-care payment solutions into a long-term growth industry.