FREE MATERNAL CARE POLICY
Thousands of women die each year in pregnancy and childbirth. Most of them die because they had no access to skilled routine and emergency care.
Untill the introduction of the Free Maternal Care in Ghana, some pregnant women waited till very late into their pregnancy before reporting for ante-natal care while others failed to go for laboratory test because of lack of funds. Maternal death arises due to complications of pregnancy or delivery.
The Free Maternal Policy was introduced in Ghana as part of measures to help achieve the adopted by UN member countries in the year 2000. The MDGs are to encourage development by improving in social and economic conditions, especially in the world’s poorest countries.
Ghana’s Free Maternal Care policy was introduced into the Nation Health Insurance scheme to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality.
OBJECTIVES OF THE FREE MATERNAL CARE POLICY
- Facilitate access to free and quality maternal care delivery services to all mothers.
- Help reduce the number of women and children who die from preventable pregnancy and labour related problems
- Encourage women to seek antenatal and post natal care as well delivery at health care facilities.
WHO BENEFITS FROM THE FREE MATERNAL CARE?
The NHIS Free Maternal Care programme is open to all pregnant women resident in Ghana. Those who can access care under the programme are:
- All pregnant woment who have registered under the policy
- Nursing mothers registered under the policy
- All babies born to mothers registered under the program up to 90 days after birth.
WHICH HEALTH FACILITIES PROVIDE FREE MATERNAL CARE?
Pregnant women are entitled to free health service in all NHIS accredited healthcare facilities. These facilities may be public, mission or private.
WHICH PERIOD DOES THE FREE MATERNAL CARE COVER?
From the period the women is certified by a doctor/nurse/midwife to be pregnant up till nine months after child birth.
Emergencies during delibery and all other medical problems that would arise within this period would be covered under the programme.
- Exemption from payment of the NHIS premium
- Exemption from payment of the registration fee
- Waiving of waiting period between registration and accessing of the services.
- Free medical services and medicines during antenatal period
- Free medical services and medicines during delivery (including Caesarean delivery).
- Free medical services and care for the newly born baby on the mother’s ticket (as a member of NHIS) for 90 days after which baby must be registered.
- Free medical services and medicines during postnatal period. (postnatal period is the six weeks following delivery.
HOW TO ACCESS THE FREE MATERNAL PROGRAM
- Obtain pregancy confirmation note from Medical Officer, Midwife or Nurse. Submit pregnancy confirmation note to the nearest NHIS office or agent for free
- Registration and issuarance of NHIS membership card.
Attend NHIS accredited hospital, clinic or maternity home with NHIS card and receive
- Free ante-natal care.
Newly-born babies will continue to access free health care for the first three months after
- Which parents would be required to register them at no cose, for NHIS membership card, for further FREE health care till age 18.
Credit: National Health Insurance Authority,Ghana