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Think and grow rich 10 ways to make wealth from Ghana's Health Sector

Not only is proper health care woefully inadequate,  it is extremely expensive, laying further emphasis on the need to stay healthy.  This has created a vast gold mine to be tapped in diverse spheres of Ghana's health care delivery system.

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"If you have a medical emergency in Ghana and do not  personally know a doctor or an influential person who can call- in personal favors for proper, emergency health care on your behalf, you will die". Those are the lamentations of the highly assertive co- host on the Citi Breakfast Show, Nana Ama Agyemang Asante.

That, unfortunately epitomises health care delivery in Ghana. But for entrepreneurs, problems are essentially the gems of wealth creation.

Ghana's healthcare industry is typified by a government sector that serves the majority of the population and a growing private sector that serves 40 percent of healthcare needs. The healthcare industry is showing positive growth as the Ministry of Health (MOH) is investing a large amount of capital into the revitalisation of all public institutions. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) implemented by the MOH has made healthcare goods and services more affordable and accessible to Ghanaians. Lucrative growth is experienced in both the pharmaceutical- and medical devices industries.

Not only is proper health care woefully inadequate,  it is extremely expensive, laying further emphasis on the need to stay healthy.  This has created a vast gold mine to be tapped in diverse spheres of Ghana's health care delivery system.

The following are some statistics from the World Health Organisation, detailing the wellbeing status of the Ghanaian population.

Apart from the rather dire situation painted above by the statistics, almost every area of Ghana's health delivery system is fraught with problems waiting to be solved.

From the number of health facilities available, quality service delivery, the ratio of health practitioners to the total population, pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, and emergency services..

Ambulance Service

Emergency ambulance services delivery in the country is  yet another sector for wealth creation for enterpreneurs. It is a popular belief in Ghana that any medical emergency is a potential death case if the patient is not personally connected to a an influential person in society who can call in special favors from the ambulance service.

The Ghanaian National Ambulance Service (GNAS) was born following the May 9, 2001 stadium soccer disaster in the capital city of Accra. The incident resulted in 123 fatalities and brought to light pot-holes within Ghana’s emergency medical services and care.

With a limited coverage area of regional capitals and few districts as of 2009, Ghana’s medical emergency system consisted of 49 government ambulances and a fleet of various private hospital ambulances.

Since 2009, there has been no organization or proper guidelines for private sector ambulances. Consequently, private ambulances have many uses other than patient care. Also, there is no standard training required for ambulance drivers in the private sector and many private sector ambulance drivers only receive in-house training or what is popularly termed on-the-job-training. Until the National Ambulance Service (NAS) Bill is passed private ambulances cannot be considered to function as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as they do not meet the standard of an ambulance.

Despite the quality of services provided by private ambulances, over 90% of people arriving at emergency care facilities are brought in by private ambulances or taxi.

Pharmaceutical and Medical Supplies

Ghana seems to be a fast-developing country, a place where you can find almost anything  in the  developed world. That's the notion until you get a complex medical condition. That is when you are  hit with the reality that the medication for that ailment cannot be found in any local hospital or pharmacy in the country, but overseas. 

HIV patients, quiet recently woke up to the horror of a shortage in Anti Retro viral Drugs. A situation induced by the destruction of the Central Medical Stores by fire. Other medications for rabid injections, and complicated heart  and vital organ diseases cannot be found in the shores of Ghana.

Again this seems to be an area worthy of attention by entrepreneurs and a great opportunity for wealth creation. Below are steps towards wealth creation in health care delivery.

 

10 steps toward building true wealth through health care delivery

  1. Look for problems that have massive human scale.
  2. Meet an asymmetry of supply and demand by clearly identifying the need and a scalable solution.
  3. Look for adjacent technologies which are pushing down the price of components and raw materials that may be at the core of your product.
  4. Try to serve both developed and developing markets with the same basic technology.
  5. Integrate with people or organizations who understand the problem first hand. Fitting in is far more helpful than standing out.
  6. Design tools that can be built upon by others.
  7. Go meet your end user. To create a holistic experience, everything you do or make should not only be informed by your purpose but also should be intentionally designed to benefit the wellbeing of your end user.
  8. Always design something that people need, and want.
  9. No matter how tempting it is to follow money over your founding cause, don’t.
  10. Remember true wealth means wellbeing for you too.
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