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Updated by Tharcisse Nkanagu , Veronika Wodsak on 21.04.2017

Ghana is one of the best-performing economies in Africa and has also made considerable progress in terms of its poverty reduction. The latest estimates from the 2006 Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) indicate that the poverty headcount declined from 39.5 percent in 1998 to 28.5 percent in 2006. Part of the reduction in poverty is attributable to growth, while redistribution has also contributed, especially in rural areas. Redistributive factors included greater access to education, health services, and land ownership.

In 2004, Ghana put into motion an impressive national health insurance scheme, which drew from the experiences of many community based and owned insurance actors.  The National Health Insurance Act introduces a national compulsory social health insurance scheme to cover all persons resident in Ghana, including formal sector employees, civil servants, self-employed persons, farmers, housewives, students, children, pensioners, the elderly, or any other general resident.  By extending coverage to residents who had previously been exempt from health insurance, not only does this increase the number of beneficiaries, but also contributes to the decrease of health related poverty. The ILO has provided various tools to support the extension of health insurance in Ghana, namely in relation to performance monitoring of health insurance schemes and health system budgeting aimed at effective financial governance. However, despite new tools and international support, sufficient follow through and monitoring must be engaged in order to ensure that necessary resources and capacity building are realized and that the full potential of the National Health Insurance Act is met. 

Other social security programs in Ghana include the older Social Security and National Insurance Trust, as well as the more recent Global Social Trust.  The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) was established in 1972 and is a National Social Insurance Scheme under which members contribute during their working life and receive benefits in the event of Old age, Invalidity; or in case of death, the member's dependants receive a Survivors' Benefit.  The Global Social Trust is a pilot project financed by various social partners in Luxembourg, which in agreement with the government of Ghana, focuses on the extension of social security to one vulnerable segment of the Ghanaian population.