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Frances Kyiamah

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Investing in Ghana's Health Sector

The Health Sector in Ghana is organized at three main levels: national, regional and district. Health interventions are packaged for each level and are delivered at the respective clinics and hospitals. These relate to the minimum benefit package and accreditation status of each facility as provided for under National Health Insurance law.

The health industry comprises all firms directly involved in the production and promotion of health care. These include all firms (both public and private) operating in the health market and are involved in the manufacturing of health products, provision of health care, health enhancing services and generation of knowledge in support of health.

The sector integrates prevention, promotion and curative services. The Ministry of Health oversees as the policy guardian the quality and equity of access to the health services. It also manages the human resources. In response to the increasing demand for quality health services from the emerging middle class the private sector is expanding especially in the urban areas of the south. At district level, the sub-district services incorporates community health delivery systems whiles the Private Hospitals and Maternity Homes Board license and regulate health facilities and services in the private sector.

The sector is in transition from a predominantly government (public) health services network towards a more diversified and decentralized system. The public health system is an extension from its socialist past, when government was the sole provider. It becomes increasingly difficult to sustain this system on the limited available public funds.

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) was created as the pivotal financing channel for the health sector. The NHIA does not have the monopoly as other insurance entrepreneurs are welcome to enter the market. Apart from premiums NHIA receives government funding for its mandate to implement the national insurance law. For example young people below 18 years, above 60 years and the poor are assured of free health care.

The capacity of the local manufacturing industry is under-utilized and the potential of Ghana’s herbal and traditional medicines is largely untapped. The role of this industry in wealth creation is in sustaining health services and creating jobs. The overall aim of the health sector is to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce risk factors that arise from environmental, economic, social and behavioural causes.

The structure of Ghana’s health industry consists of the following: 

  • Health Services
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Non Communicable Disease Control
  • Reproductive and Sexual Health
  • Nutrition
  • Accident and Emergency Services
  • Clinical Care
  • Traditional and Alternative Medicine Practice
  • Rehabilitation



  • Ministry of Health Medical education and training
  • Infrastructural projects Construction of hospitals and clinics.
  • Diagnostic and laboratory facilities and referrals (histopathology)
  • Drugs Drug procurement and pharmaceutical supplies management.
  • Quality assurance at port of entry
  • Equipment
  • Digital hospital equipment
  • ICT Hospital management
  • Hospital waste management
  • Diagnostic imaging and digital imaging
  • Advanced laboratory
  • Advanced life support and monitoring systems
  • Emergency response and Ambulance services
  • Rehabilitation and physiotherapy

Private health facilities complement the public sector. As the days of free health care in the public hospitals are over, the costs are becoming increasing less of a barrier. The added values of private facilities are quality and convenience. There is a growing middle class that prefers to use private health facilities and can afford it. The NHIS works with private health facilities by way of contracting private facilities to provide services to NHIS clients in order to achieve a high coverage.

Other opportunities merit further exploration:

  • Commercial health insurance Hospitals and clinics.
  • Maternity homes.
  • Elderly and residential care.
  • Occupational health and rehabilitation/physiotherapy.
  • Dialysis centers
  • Multidisciplinary cancer treatment centers
  • First Aid and (air)ambulance services
  • Diagnostic services (X-Ray, MRI, CT, advanced laboratory including histopathology)
  • Services for maintenance and repairs of medical equipment
  • Mortuary services/Funeral homes