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Trends and projections of universal health coverage indicators in Ghana, 1995-2030: A national and subnational study

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Cherri Zhang, Md Shafiur Rahman, Md Mizanur Rahman, Alfred E Yawson, Kenji Shibuya

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0209126
Pages (from-to)e0209126
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2019


King's Authors


Ghana has made significant stride towards universal health coverage (UHC) by implementing the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 2003. This paper investigates the progress of UHC indicators in Ghana from 1995 to 2015 and makes future predictions up to 2030 to assess the probability of achieving UHC targets. National representative surveys of Ghana were used to assess health service coverage and financial risk protection. The analyses estimated the coverage of 13 prevention and four treatment service indicators at the national level and across wealth quintiles. In addition, we calculated catastrophic health payments and impoverishment to assess financial hardship and used a Bayesian regression model to estimate trends and future projections as well as the probabilities of achieving UHC targets by 2030. Wealth-based inequalities and regional disparities were also assessed. At the national level, 14 out of the 17 health service indicators are projected to reach the target of 80% coverage by 2030. Across wealth quintiles, inequalities were observed amongst most indicators with richer groups obtaining more coverage than their poorer counterparts. Subnational analysis revealed while all regions will achieve the 80% coverage target with high probabilities for the prevention services, the same cannot be applied to the treatment services. In 2015, the proportion of households that suffered catastrophic health payments and impoverishment at a threshold of 25% non-food expenditure were 1.9% (95%CrI: 0.9-3.5) and 0.4% (95%CrI: 0.2-0.8), respectively. These are projected to reduce to 0.4% (95% CrI: 0.1-1.3) and 0.2% (0.0-0.5) respectively by 2030. Inequality measures and subnational assessment revealed that catastrophic expenditure experienced by wealth quintiles and regions are not equal. Significant improvements were seen in both health service coverage and financial risk protection over the years. However, inequalities across wealth quintiles and regions continue to be cause of concerns. Further efforts are needed to narrow these gaps.

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