Contextual dynamics of health insurance use: Case study of faith healing and Ghana's National Health Insurance Scheme
African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP)
School of Arts and Humanities
Health insurance is believed to enhance poor people’s access to healthcare. Thus, one would expect that, in contexts where poverty is endemic, health insurance policies would encourage people to use hospital-based healthcare when they fall sick. However, an ethnographic study of Ghana’s National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in the Daakye District of the Central Region provides evidence to the contrary. Our research found that in a pluralistic healthcare context such as Ghana’s, socio-economic factors such as local perceptions of illness and distance to healthcare centres are key predictors of why and how people use health insurance policies. This paper presents a brief discussion of the manner in which those who enrolled in the NHIS have related to faith healing and hospital-based treatment in Daakye District. Our study shows that faith healing remains popular in Ghana, despite the introduction of the NHIS, and puts forward the case for public education and a national regulatory framework for controlling dangerous forms of the practice.