Should traditional medicine services in Ghana be covered by Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme?

  • Aaron Asibi Abuosi University of Ghana
Keywords: Traditional medicine, National Health Insurance Scheme, Accreditation, Ghana


More than half of Ghanaians use traditional medicine in addition to conventional medicine in treatment of diseases. However, traditional medicine is not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme. This poses a serious threat to financial risk protection to users of traditional medicine as they may be exposed to catastrophic healthcare expenditure. This paper assessed whether traditional medicine services should be covered by National Health Insurance Scheme in Ghana or not. A case study design was employed to assess a traditional medicine facility in Accra, Ghana. The study adopted Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme accreditation tools coupled with in-depth interviews with key informants. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and content analysis from interviews. It was found that the overall performance of the facility was 83 percent, representing grade ‘A’. This implies that the facility may be considered for accreditation. However, the facility performed poorly in in-patient care, with a grade ‘E’, representing ‘Fail. Some respondents were of the view that the facility should only be accredited on condition that it is upgraded to meet the required standards. Other respondents argued that selected service lines which meet the accreditation standards should be accredited. It was concluded that traditional medicine could be covered by NHIS, especially for outpatient care, while steps could be taken to address teething problems such as standardization of traditional medicine.

Author Biography

Aaron Asibi Abuosi, University of Ghana

Department of Public and Administration and Health Services Management