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Oct 29, 2015

African Health Markets for Equity (AHME) contributing to Ghana’s progress to end extreme poverty

This year’s End Poverty Day was centered around Ghana, highlighting the country’s progress toward ending extreme poverty. On Friday October 16th World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim travelled to Accra and attended an event where various government agencies, donors and development partners shared their work on poverty and social protection interventions and innovations. The AHME partnership was also selected to showcase its contribution to ending poverty, demonstrating an innovative tool that can identify the poor and provide access to health insurance for 140,000 of Ghana’s poorest people within a 12 month timeframe.

World Bank President (Dr. Jim Yong Kim), President of the Republic of Ghana (HE John Dramani Mahama) and President of African Development Bank (Dr. Akinwumi Adesina) during the demonstration of AHME’s tool for identifying the poor.

AHME strives to improve health outcomes for the poor by enhancing the quality of care in the private sector in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. In Ghana, AHME is made up of the International Finance Corporation, PharmAccess Group and Marie Stopes International Ghana, working together with the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP).

Under AHME, the PharmAccess Group works on demand-side financing, access to capital and quality improvement, leveraging our long-standing expertise in the set-up, administration and communication of health insurance in various countries across Africa. As such, PharmAccess spearheads the marketing and communication of health insurance to beneficiaries by using local communication tools and channels.

Identifying the poor

At the event, AHME exhibited one of its innovations in Ghana: an objective and scientific means of identifying the poor for health insurance exemptions and cash transfers. With this system, AHME intends to identify and enroll 70,000 poor and 70,000 extremely poor residents into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) without payment of insurance premium within a 12 month period.

The Proxy Means Test (PMT) tool consists of a set of questions based on the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS 6). The answers are loaded on to a personal digital assistant (PDA), after which the tool instantly determines whether a respondent is poor or not. The PMT tool was demonstrated for the first time in the presence of the World Bank President, the President of Ghana and the President of the African Development Bank. Three individuals answered the questions, were identified as poor and thus eligible for the program. They underwent biometric registration on the spot and received their biometric NHIS cards from the three presidents.

At a previous event in October 2015, the World Bank President highlighted the important role of insurance in eradicating poverty: “No matter the level of prospects for economic growth, we have to increase our efforts to insure poor people against the risks and looming disasters of modern life. Well-off people already profit from various forms of insurance, but everyone should have a safety net.”


The African Health Markets for Equity (AHME) consortium is a five-year partnership led by Marie Stopes International and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID). AHME strives to improve health outcomes for the poor by enhancing the quality of care in the private sector in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya.

AHME is implemented through a partnership between:

  • Marie Stopes International, Population Services International, Society for Family Health , which focus on social franchising
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC), which works on policies, legislative and governance frameworks as well as demand-side financing, and
  • PharmAccess, Medical Credit Fund and SafeCare, which cover demand-side financing, access to capital and quality improvement.