“Good health is one of the important ingredients for a happy and productive life. And yet, many people do not have access to health care and live in conditions that spread disease,”– Robert Alan Silverstein
It cannot be gainsaid that the development of any economy hinges on the health of its people. Any country that fails to address the health needs of its people heads for doom.
It is in this vein, therefore, that governments allocate a large chunk of their budgetary allocation to the health sectors and also invest heavily on the development of the infrastructure of that sector, while individuals spend their resources to address their health needs.
It is obvious that the allocated budgets hardly meet the expectations of the required needs of the people, mostly because of the mismatch between the demand of the citizenry and the supply available.
It is heart-warming therefore, that a private non-profit making organization has initiated a project, a world class health facilities across the West African Region through private sector development and to attract medical tourism from the rest of the Africa Union, ( ECO Medical Village) in Ghana. The multi-million dollar facility is to be established in Achimota.
State of the art
ECO-Medical village (EMV) will be a State of the Art International Hospital Complex for citizens and residents of the West Africa sub-region, who usually travel to South Africa, North America, Europe, Cuba and India for medical care. The EMV, will be built on a 40-acre land and with satellite unit in all the West African Countries in the sub-region.
Overview of the health care sector
The health care industry in the country and the rest of the West Africa region is dominated by the public sector, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of the health care, with the deficit being created covered by private health sector and non-traditional health care sectors.
The population characteristics of Ghana and the rest of the sub-region in date a not-so existing prospect for the future.
Available statistics indicate that more than 44 per cent of the country’s population is below the average age of 15 years, whereas the population of the aged is only about five per cent.
Life expectancy is very low at an average of 58 years and this statistic is representative of other countries in West Africa. It is estimated that , the average expenditure on healthcare in Ghana is $67 based on 2010 estimate.
Considering that most of health service providers operate on a cash and carry system, despite the National Health Insurance system, there is appetite to pay for good health service. The country remains exposed to political risks, however, the current environment appears relatively peaceful and reemergence of significant social and political tensions likely to hinder the country’s medium-term growth prospects is less probable.
Mission and three pronged approach
The Chief Executive of the ECO Medical Village, Mr Peter Ahiekpor, said the project, would begin by next month, in three pronged approach. According to the CEO, the approach one would include the construction of 380 ward hospital made up of 120 ward for women and children and 120 ward housing for the elderly.
It also includes a medical shopping mall; all things health, 17 storey doctors’ offices, 40 unit studio apartment for medical trainees, medical research centre, in collaboration with world renowned hospital and a four star medical hotel.
The project will also include a two star medical hotel, air ambulance and Para Medics services and a housing facility for medical staff.
The second approach is tailored making available paramedics units within 15 square kilometers of every capital city within the West African Region, while the third approach is to make available healthcare to the rural areas and villages across West Africa through the introduction of mobile clinics and mobile surgical units.
He said the project was the first of its kind in the West African Sub region, to cure the problem of “most of our leaders who travel far away abroad for medical redress.” “You are a CEO, in a country, you have to vacate your position to travel long distances with its concomitant expenditure?.”
Mr Ahiekpor said Nigerian leaders, for instance, spend close to $2billion a year going to India for medical redress, hence “ we are a private sector trying to make a difference.”
The former Minister of Transport, Mrs Dzifa Attivor, who resigned to join ECO Medical as its chairperson, said she was elected to be appointed the chairperson to oversee such an important international initiative.
Mrs Attivor said she would let her rich experience, as a former minister of state and a state woman bear on the new role as the chairperson of the significantly huge project.
“I think I have the capability to work with 15 agencies under my command. That kind of talent is what we need to spear the affairs of Eco medical,” she said.
She said the project, wholly Ghanaian, would create employment for more than 2,000 Ghanaians directly and also boosts tourism.
She said the facility would complement hospitals and traditional health sectors in the country adding “this is multi-lingua facility, which will be replicated in all countries in the West African Sub-region.
“By doing this, we intend to give areas of specialization to all countries, with Ghana being the headquarters,” an elated chairperson said.
It is refreshing that the sub-region will soon witness a magnificent project comparable to facilities in Europe and the Americas
It is therefore, clear from the foregoing that the initiative by a private enterprise needs support and co-operation from all to enable it to come to fruition because “a sound mind lives in a healthy body.”