Ghanaian tidbits

On March 13, 2009, in Ghana, health insurance, by Karen Grepin

In celebration of my visit to Ghana, I decided to post about 3 interesting Ghanaian news stories from the last week.

1. Cadbury has recently announced that it plans to seek Fairtrade certification for the chocolate it uses in its popular Dairy Milk chocolate bar. This certification will require Cadbury to pay a decent living wage to cocoa producers in Ghana, where the cocoa for this bar will be sourced. Please sir, I want some more.

2. A hot debate right now in Ghana relates to a campaign promise made by the NDC during the last election campaign (in which they defeated the incumbent NPP party). National Health Insurance was introduced in Ghana during the last few years. By the end of 2008, according to government figures, nearly 61% of the population is reportedly now covered by this scheme. Every year, Ghanaians need to renew their insurance card by repaying their annual premium, which ranges from about 7 cedis to up to 48 cedis a year (1.3 cedis=1 USD). The NDC promised that instead of paying annually, Ghanaians will now only have to pay once to buy into the scheme and then (presumably) be insured for life. Lots of people have their doubts about the feasibility of such a scheme, but with premiums representing far less than the majority of funds into the system (I heard 20%, but who knows) and with oil production coming online, I guess it could be feasible. But is this still insurance?

3. An interesting article about how the economic crisis may or may not affect Ghana. A story of a local company who has manage to offset losses in its export markets by targeting the local, bulging middle class. The middle class is adopting a more Western diet and seem willing to pay more for “health conscious drinks”. According to the owners of the fruit juice company, their product will “reduce on the diseases that could come to bear as a result of taking other drinks”. Maybe not, but good news anyway.

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