Find Health and Medical expertise in Ghana
- Healthcare system
- Pharmaceuticals industry
Medical services in Ghana are provided by the central government, local institutions, Christian missions (private non-profit agencies) and a relatively small number of private for-profit practitioners. Around 50% of the healthcare facilities in Ghana, which includes hospitals and clinics, are Ministry of Health institutions, with 40% being private sector and 9% mission institutions. The West African country’s health care expenditure per capita is US$67.
Medical facilities in Ghana are limited, particularly outside Accra, the capital. Investment in the health service in recent years has increased the geographic accessibility to health services: there are now two new district hospitals and 11 health centres upgraded to district hospitals, 126 new health centres, and three new regional hospitals (2007). In the most recent survey conducted in the period 1997–2009 there were nine doctors and 105 nurses and midwives per 100,000 members of Ghana’s population.
The Ministry of Health is the umbrella organisation for the Ghana Health Service (GHS). The GHS is the main implementing agency of the Ministry of Health.
National Health Insurance Scheme
In 2005 the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was introduced nationally with the aim of ensuring access to free basic health care services to all residents. People pay a levy of 2.5% on certain goods and services, and a 2.5% monthly payroll deduction. Those working in the informal economy can also contribute via a slightly different route. The poorest people, pregnant women and children are exempt from premium payment. The NHIS funds health services, including outpatient consultations, essential drugs, inpatient care and hospital beds, maternity care (including caesarean delivery) and eye, dental and emergency care. However, some services are excluded, often due to cost. Exclusions include cosmetic surgery, some drugs (including antiretroviral treatment), assisted reproduction and organ transplants.
The Government of Ghana has committed to scaling up HIV treatment. Evidence of a yellow fever vaccination is essential for travellers visiting Ghana.
In 2014 the infant mortality rate in the country stood at 44 per 1,000 live births. Life expectancy in the country was 63.8, placing it 112th out of 144 countries. The HIV prevalence rate was 1.5% of adults between 15 and 49 in 2014.
Some 43% of health care in Ghana was paid for by patients or funded by other non-governmental entities – such as private insurers, charities or employers – in 2012. Total health expenditure constituted 3% of GDP in 2013, of which 57% (US$47 per capita) was covered by the government. In 2013 public spending on health was 3% of GDP.
Ghana has signed and ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which includes ‘the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’. The covenant commits signees to providing healthy and hygienic environmental conditions, controlling epidemic diseases, improving child health and facilitating access to health services without discrimination.
The pharmaceutical industry was valued at $200 million in 2008. It is a highly profitable sector, with drugs constituting about 60–80% of the cost of healthcare in the country. The high growth rate of the industry is driven by the prescription market with future growth largely driven by the high demand for prescription medicine. There are 1,600 licensed pharmacies with 80% located in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions. Some of the major companies are LaGray Chemical Company, Historical D and Dan Adams Pharmaceutical Industry. A number of companies operate in pharmaceutical research, prominent amongst these Pharmanova based in Accra.
The pharmaceutical industry consists of importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. Locally produced products include anti-infectives, vitamins, painkillers, antacids and antibiotics. Local manufacturing meets up to 30% of local demand and the rest is fulfilled by imports.
The Pharmacy Council is the regulatory body that licenses retail pharmacies and chemical sellers. All pharmacists have to be members of a professional society, the Pharmaceutical Association of Ghana (PSGH). The PSGH is responsible for assuring professional ethics and standards and occupies three of the nine Board seats at the Pharmacy Council. Other associations include the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana which aims to improve business perspectives of local manufacturers.