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Free Content Management of mutual health organizations in Ghana

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Summary Objective 

Mutual Health Organizations (MHO) emerged in Ghana in the mid-1990s. The organizational structure and financial management of private and public MHO hold important lessons for the development of national health insurance in Ghana, but there is little evidence to date on their features. This paper aims at filling this data gap, and at making recommendations to Ghanaian authorities on how to stimulate the success of MHO. Methods 

Survey among 45 private and public MHO in Ghana in 2004–2005, asking questions on their structure, financial management and financial position. Results 

Private MHO had more autonomy in setting premiums and benefit packages, and had higher community participation in meetings than public MHO. MHO in general had few measures in place to control moral hazard and reduce adverse selection, but more measures to control fraud and prevent cost escalation. The vast majority of schemes were managed by formally trained and paid staff. The financial results varied considerably. Conclusions 

Ghanaian authorities regulate the newly established public MHO, but may do good by leaving them a certain level of autonomy in decision-making and secure community participation. The financial management of MHO is suboptimal, which indicates the need for technical assistance.

Keywords: Ghana; community-based health insurance; health financing; primary health care

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2006.01621.x

Affiliations: 1:  Ghana Health Service, Dangme West District Health Administration/Research Centre, Ghana 2:  Ecorys Consulting, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 3:  Ghana Health Services, Regional Health Administration, Greater Accra, Ghana

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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