The Impact of the National Health Insurance Scheme on the Lives of Persons with Disabilities in Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana

Henry Abuaku Howard


Purpose:  In Ghana, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is one of the government’s social protection measures to provide healthcare for its citizens. Persons with disabilities and their families, though worthy recipients of such services, are more likely to face challenges in accessing healthcare through the NHIS due to social discrimination. The objective of the study was to evaluate the impact of the National Health Insurance Scheme on the lives of persons with disabilities in the Kumasi Metropolis.

Method:  A qualitative study was carried out. Purposive sampling was used to select persons with disabilities and NHIA staff as participants. Structured interviews and focus group discussions were employed to collect data from them.

Results: Unemployment among persons with disabilities was the major economic factor that influenced access to health insurance and healthcare. Most of the mobility impaired and visually impaired persons were inconvenienced by inaccessible routes to NHIA offices.  For the hearing impaired, communication was a major problem since the NHIA staff were unable to understand sign language.

Conclusion and Implications: NHIS has been instrumental in providing healthcare for persons with disabilities, and stakeholders must encourage persons with disabilities to register for NHIS. Their unemployment issues should be addressed by aiding their economic ventures. Access routes to NHIA offices must also be made disability-friendly.


Disability; national health insurance scheme; national health insurance authority

Full Text:



Asenso-Boadi F (2009). Ghana's national health insurance system: Design, implementation perspectives. Presentation on behalf of Ras Boateng, at the African Health Economics and Policy Association Conference, 10 March, Accra.

Berk ML, Monheit AC (2001). The concentration of healthcare expenditures, revisited. Health Affairs; 20(2): 9–18

Brugiavini A, Pace N (2011). Extending health insurance: Effects of the national health insurance scheme in Ghana. RSCAS Working paper 2011/27; European Report on Development. Available from:

DeJong G, Palsbo SE, Beatty PW (2002). The organisation and financing of health services for persons with disabilities. Milbank Quarterly; 80(2): 261-301. PMCid:PMC2690107

Gorman L (2006). The history of health care costs and health insurance. The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute; October.

Mavalankar D, Bhat R (2000). Health insurance in India opportunities, challenges and concerns. Available from:

McIntyre D, Garshong B, Mtei G, Meheus F, Thiede M, Akazili J, Goudge J (2008). Equity in health care financing in Ghana. Bulletin of the World Health Organisation; 86(11): 871–876. PMCid:PMC2649570

Mitra S, Pošarac A, Vick B (2011). Disability and poverty in developing countries: A snapshot from the world health survey. World Bank.

Mont D, Cuong NV (2011). Disability and poverty in Vietnam (English). The World Bank Economic Review; 25(2): 323–359. Available from:

Narayan D (2000). Voices of the poor: Can anyone hear us? (Washington, DC: World Bank).

Nyonator F, Kutzin J (1999). Health for some? The effects of user fees in the Volta Region of Ghana. Health Policy Plan; 14(4): 329:41.

Sulzbach S (2008). Evaluating the impact of National Health Insurance in Ghana. Bethesda, MD: Health Systems 20/20 project, Abt Associates Inc.

White PH (2002). Access to health care: Health insurance considerations for young adults with special health care needs/disabilities. Paediatrics; 110(6 Pt 2): 1328–35.

World Health Organisation (2010). The World Health Report: Health systems financing: The path to universal coverage. Geneva.


Copyright (c) 2019 Henry Abuaku Howard

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Supported by:


© Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development