Ghana’s Health Sector: Investment Guide

The health sector of an economy is all the activities and services related to keeping people healthy and treating them when they’re sick. This includes doctors, hospitals, clinics, medicines, and everything else that helps people with their health.

Likewise, in Ghana, the health sector includes all the organizations and activities related to healthcare. This involves both public and private groups that make health products, provide medical services, promote health, and gather knowledge about health.

In Ghana, as of May 2020, there were a total of 2,857 health facilities. These facilities were categorized as follows:

  • Government Hospitals: There were 1,625 government hospitals, which are operated and funded by the government.
  • Private Hospitals: The country has 928 private hospitals, which are privately owned and managed healthcare facilities.
  • Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG): There were 220 health facilities associated with the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG). These facilities are often run by Christian organizations.
  • Quasi-Government: There were 79 quasi-government health facilities. These are partially funded or operated by the government.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): There were 2 health facilities run by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
  • Islamic: There were 2 Islamic health facilities.
  • Mission: There was 1 mission health facility.

The healthcare statistics for 2020 in Ghana also included the following information:

  • Outpatient Visits: There were a total of 28,080 outpatient visits. This represents the number of people who received medical care without being admitted to a hospital.
  • Hospital Beds: There were 18,155 hospital beds available in the country’s healthcare facilities. These beds are used for inpatient care.
  • Mortality Rate: The death rate in Ghana was 7 deaths per 1,000 people. This indicates the number of deaths per 1,000 population in a given year.

Overview of Ghana’s Health Sub-Sectors

Ghana’s health industry is made up of various sub-sectors, such as healthcare, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, health insurance, and medical devices supplies.

Healthcare Services 

In Ghana, the healthcare system is organized into different categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Primary Healthcare:
  • Primary healthcare is the most basic level of healthcare in Ghana.
  • It includes health posts, health centres, and clinics.
  • The primary role of these facilities is to provide essential healthcare services such as immunization, malaria treatment, and prenatal care.
  • They offer basic health and nutrition services.
  • These facilities also provide medical treatment for common diseases and injuries.
  • Additionally, they offer ante-natal care and family planning services.
  • Primary healthcare facilities play a crucial role in the prevention and control of locally endemic diseases.
  • They are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking healthcare in Ghana.
Secondary Healthcare:
  • Secondary healthcare covers specialized services.
  • This level includes district hospitals.
  • Patients are typically referred from primary healthcare facilities to district hospitals when they require more specialized care.
  • Services at this level can include cardiology, endocrinology, neurology, ENT (ear, nose, and throat), and general surgery.
Tertiary Healthcare:
  • Tertiary healthcare involves even more specialized and advanced medical care.
  • It includes regional hospitals and tertiary hospitals.
  • These hospitals provide high-level specialty care and may have advanced equipment and expertise.
  • Services at this level can encompass kidney dialysis, neurosurgery, cardiology, cardiac surgery, assisted reproductive technologies (e.g., IVF), and cancer care.
  • Additionally, services in tertiary healthcare may also include endocrinology, orthopaedics, infertility treatment, and urology.

Diagnostic Centres

A diagnostic centre is a place where medical tests and procedures are done to figure out what might be causing a person’s health issue. It’s like a place where health professionals use various tests, like blood tests or imaging scans, to understand and diagnose a person’s medical condition or illness.

The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists is the primary regulatory body overseeing diagnostic centres. Established in 1971 and incorporated under the Professional Bodies Registration Decree (NRCD 143) in 1973, this association plays a key role in ensuring the quality and standards of diagnostic services.

A 2011 research study conducted by the Ghana Health Service for the World Health Organization revealed that health laboratories in Ghana, whether in hospitals or private facilities, consistently deliver timely and sufficient results. Some laboratories even provide results within a notably short timeframe, as quick as two hours.

With over 100 health laboratories in operation, Ghana is actively working towards delivering high-quality results. These results are crucial for doctors and nurses in effectively treating patients, showcasing the country’s commitment to reliable healthcare services.


The pharmaceutical value chain involves different stages in bringing medicines and healthcare products to people:

  1. Manufacturing: This is where medicines and healthcare products are made.
  2. Importation: Some products might be brought into the country from other places.
  3. Wholesalers/Distributors: Companies that buy large quantities of medicines and distribute them to pharmacies and other places.
  4. Pharmacy: Where you can buy medicines directly.
  5. Retailers: Other stores that might sell over-the-counter medicines and health products.
  6. Hospitals: Places where you go for medical treatment and can get prescribed medicines.
  7. Patients/Consumers: People who use the medicines and healthcare products.

The pharmaceutical value chain also connects with other parts of the healthcare system, including diagnostic centres, health insurance, and medical devices. This whole process ensures that the right medicines and healthcare products reach the people who need them.

The Ghana National Chamber of Pharmacy (GNCoP) has partnered with construction firm LMI Holdings Ltd to establish a pharmaceutical industrial park in the Dawa Industrial Zone, aligning with the government’s efforts to boost the pharmaceutical industry. The GNCoP advocates for government support in the form of affordable investment capital, including subsidies on interest payments and tax breaks for players in the pharmaceutical sector.

Although Ghana’s pharmaceutical industry heavily relies on imports, the government aims to enhance local production by implementing incentives and policies. Interventions include VAT exemption on imported raw materials for pharmaceutical production were introduced in 2021. 

Despite existing domestic manufacturing capacity, it is underutilized due to the high cost of importing raw materials and the prevalent disease pattern in Ghana, including malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and increasing heart-related diseases. 

Prescription medicines such as analgesics, antimalarials, and multivitamins dominate the market. However, drugs like Antiretroviral (ARV), artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), anti-TB, and antimicrobial antidiarrheal agents are deemed essential in Ghana.

Local producers face challenges, particularly the cost of importing active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients, compounded by the recent cedi devaluation. The GNCP’s initiative to create a pharmaceutical industrial park seeks to address these challenges and promote the categorization of locally manufactured pharmaceutical products, covering a range of essential medications such as analgesics, antimalarials, antibiotics, antiretrovirals, vitamins, antitussive syrups, antacids, and disinfectants.

Health Insurance

In 2003, the government introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Ghana, focusing on treating common illnesses like malaria, respiratory diseases, diarrhoea, diabetes, and hypertension. 

The 2021 census revealed that 68.8% of the population is covered by the NHIS or private health insurance, with a higher coverage rate for females (72.6%) than males (64.5%). Government-funded public hospitals are common, and religious groups also play a significant role in providing medical assistance. 

Expatriates in Ghana often choose private healthcare due to higher standards, modern equipment, and shorter waiting times. Private hospitals in expat communities are well-equipped, with English-speaking doctors.

The Ministry of Health in Ghana is working towards achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030, conducting extensive community outreach in both cities and rural areas to advance this national agenda.

Medical Devices Supplies

Ghana’s small medical device market is expected to grow steadily, with a projected 12.2% annual increase in local currency terms and a 9.2% increase in US dollar terms from 2021 to 2026. 

This growth is attributed to a positive economic outlook, a large population, and ongoing healthcare projects. 

However, constraints such as decreasing health expenditure and limited domestic production may impact the market. 

By 2026, the medical device market in Ghana is predicted to reach GHS742.6 million (USD110.7 million) based on the forecasted growth rates.

Regulatory Overview

Investors in the health sector should familiarize themselves with the key regulatory bodies that oversee various aspects of health policies and services. Here is an overview of the major regulatory bodies and their impact on the investment landscape:

Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health serves as the central authority overseeing the formulation, evaluation, and implementation of health policies in Ghana. Its responsibilities extend to strategies related to food and drugs, creating awareness of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health, and ensuring ethical delivery of pharmaceutical services within the industry.

Ghana Health Service

The Ghana Health Service is tasked with administering government-provided health services and implementing healthcare policies. Investors should be attentive to the Service’s role in influencing the direction of healthcare initiatives and services in the country.

Food and Drugs Authority

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) serves a critical role in maintaining standards for the sale of food, herbal medicinal products, cosmetics, drugs, medical devices, and household chemical substances. 

As an investor, understanding FDA regulations is crucial to navigating compliance requirements and contributing to the protection of consumer health.

Key responsibilities of the FDA include advising the Minister on measures for consumer health protection, approving the initiation and conduct of clinical trials, and ensuring the enforcement of regulatory standards.

Health Facilities Regulatory Agency

The Health Facilities Regulatory Agency focuses on transforming the regulation of healthcare facilities through quality standard setting, enforcement, and client-focused partnerships. 

Investors should recognize the importance of adherence to quality standards in healthcare facilities and the agency’s role in contributing to well-designed and structurally appropriate healthcare facilities.

Nursing & Midwifery Council Ghana

For investors in healthcare, the Nursing & Midwifery Council Ghana is a key regulatory body responsible for registering and licensing nurses, nurse assistants, and midwives. The council conducts licensing examinations to ensure the qualification of healthcare professionals and works towards ensuring equity in healthcare coverage access.

Pharmacy Council Ghana

Investors in the pharmaceutical sector must be aware of the Pharmacy Council Ghana, which ensures that courses of study and training in pharmacy guarantee the necessary knowledge and skills for efficient practice. The council oversees the registration of pharmacists and regulates the practice of pharmacy.

Why Invest in Ghana’s Health Sector

Here are compelling reasons to invest in Ghana’s health sector:

Growing Healthcare Demand

Ghana’s healthcare sector is witnessing an increasing demand for services, driven by population growth and rising awareness of health issues. The population of Ghana has been steadily increasing, reaching over 31 million in 2021. With a growing population, there is a continuous demand for healthcare services, creating significant investment opportunities in hospitals, clinics, health centres, maternity homes, and laboratories.

Preventive Healthcare Market

The emphasis on preventive healthcare, including the use of products like condoms and mosquito nets, is crucial in addressing public health challenges. With a focus on preventing diseases, there’s an opportunity to invest in manufacturing and supplying preventive products. For example, the government’s initiatives to provide mosquito nets with zero import duty can encourage investment in this particular sector, given the prevalence of diseases like malaria.

Pharmaceutical Industry Growth

Ghana’s pharmaceutical industry is expanding, offering investment prospects in drug manufacturing and distribution. The country’s commitment to enforcing stringent pharmaceutical import requirements, such as drug registration and minimum shelf life, ensures the quality of pharmaceutical products in the market. With a large and growing population, the demand for pharmaceuticals is expected to rise, making it an attractive investment opportunity.

Investment Incentives and Tariff Structures

The Ghanaian government provides favourable investment incentives, including exemptions and a liberal investment environment. The zero import duty on certain medical supplies and the exemption for charitable gifts related to health and education contribute to a cost-effective investment climate. This, coupled with a clear tariff structure, facilitates smoother importation processes and reduces financial barriers for investors.

Political Stability and Investment Guarantees

Ghana’s stable political environment is a crucial factor for investors seeking long-term commitments. The constitutional guarantees against the expropriation of private investments, along with the free transferability of capital, profits, and dividends, provide a secure and predictable investment environment. These guarantees are further strengthened by Ghana’s participation in international agreements, such as the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Convention.

Access to Regional and International Markets

Ghana’s strategic location within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) provides investors in the healthcare sector with access to a market of approximately 440 million people. Additionally, the country’s good physical infrastructure, including well-developed seaports, airports, and road networks, facilitates easy access to international markets, making it an ideal hub for regional trade.

Quality Labor Force and High Safety Standards

Ghana boasts a skilled and unskilled labour force, including highly regarded professionals in the healthcare and research fields. The country’s commitment to maintaining high safety standards ensures a secure environment for healthcare investments. This combination of skilled workforce and safety measures contributes to the overall attractiveness of the country as an investment destination in the health sector.

List of Areas to Invest in Ghana’s Health Sector

  1. Construction of Hospitals and Clinics: There is a need for the establishment of modern and well-equipped hospitals and clinics to meet the demand for quality healthcare services.
  2. Diagnostic and Laboratory Facilities: Investing in diagnostic and laboratory facilities, especially those offering histopathology services, can address the growing demand for accurate and timely diagnostics.
  3. Drug Procurement and Pharmaceutical Supplies Management: Given the high dependence on imports for pharmaceuticals, there is an opportunity to invest in local drug procurement and efficient pharmaceutical supplies management.
  4. Medical Equipment: Investment in the manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance of medical equipment to reduce dependence on imports.
  5. Digital Hospital Equipment and ICT Hospital Management: Develop and provide digital solutions for hospital management, electronic health records, and telemedicine services.
  6. Hospital Waste Management: Investing in eco-friendly and efficient hospital waste management solutions to address environmental concerns. 
  7. Diagnostic Imaging and Digital Imaging: Establishing facilities that provide advanced diagnostic and digital imaging services.
  8. Advanced Laboratory Equipment: Investing in state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to enhance the capacity for advanced medical testing.
  9. Advanced Life Support and Monitoring Systems: Providing advanced life support systems and monitoring equipment for hospitals and clinics.
  10. Emergency Response and Ambulance Services: Establishing and expanding emergency response services and ambulance fleets.
  11. Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy: Investing in rehabilitation and physiotherapy facilities to cater to the growing demand for these services.
  12. Commercial Health Insurance: Developing and offering comprehensive health insurance products to cater to individuals and businesses.
  13. Public Hospitals and Clinics: Collaborating with the public sector to improve and upgrade existing healthcare infrastructure.
  14. Elderly and Residential Care: Establishing facilities for the elderly, including residential care and specialized services for seniors.
  15. Occupational Health and Rehabilitation/Physiotherapy: Providing occupational health services and rehabilitation/physiotherapy for individuals and workplaces.
  16. Dialysis Centers: Investing in dialysis centres to address the growing demand for renal care services.
  17. Multidisciplinary Cancer Treatment Centers: Establishing comprehensive cancer treatment centres with a focus on multidisciplinary approaches.
  18. First Aid and Air Ambulance Services: Offering first aid services and air ambulance transport for swift medical assistance.
  19. Diagnostic Services: Establishing specialized diagnostic services such as X-ray, MRI, CT scans, and advanced laboratory services, including histopathology.
  20. Maintenance and Repair of Medical Equipment: Providing services for the maintenance and repair of medical equipment, ensuring their longevity and functionality.
  21. Mortuary Services/Funeral Homes: Investment in mortuary services and funeral homes to address end-of-life care needs.
  22. Research and Development Facilities: Supporting and investing in research and development facilities for medical innovations and advancements.
  23. Drugs and Pharmaceuticals: Investment in the local production of pharmaceuticals to reduce dependence on imports.
  24. Preventive Products: Manufacturing and distributing preventive products such as condoms, mosquito nets, and other health-related items.

These opportunities span a wide range of healthcare services and infrastructure, presenting a diverse set of investment options in Ghana’s health sector.

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