Access to quality healthcare in Ghana is limited. There are far more patients than doctors. NuMedika founders recently met with a young Ghanaian doctor serving in the Ghana Health Service who serves an astonishing 70,000 patients annually -- roughly one patient every minute-and-a-half, assuming a daily eight-hour shift -- his case is typical.
The government of Ghana cites access to quality healthcare as a national goal and the bedrock for any sustainable wealth creation for the country. NuMedika supports this national imperative -- a promise to the nation made by both of Ghana's two major political parties. While we start in Ghana, we believe increasing access to quality healthcare transcends borders.
Indeed, access to quality healthcare is enshrined as Goal 3 of The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages."
To reach this goal, the UNSDG set a year 2030 deadline to: "Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all."
Not only is there a shortage of medical providers, traffic in Ghana's cities is legendary and is an impediment to people seeking care. Further, the clinic culture in Ghana, combined with the limited number of care providers, result in long queues for patients once they arrive at a clinic. The patient experience of Ghanaians seeking primary healthcare is far from ideal.
Yet, for all these impediments to healthcare delivery, Ghana is perhaps the perfect launch pad to implement a new healthcare eco system with the support of technology. The government is committed to providing universal healthcare to its citizens. They recognize and support the value of community-based health.
Ghana has one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates in the world -- far higher than the rate in the US. The population is mobile-savvy and uses wireless technology for financial transactions, business of all kinds, and of course, social interaction. Wireless providers in Ghana have constructed a robust 4G network extending plenty of bandwidth and speed to mobile-based platforms seeking to transform the way healthcare is delivered.
So it is no surprise that Ghana caught the attention of NuMedika's founders. We similarly believe access to healthcare is both a fundamental human right and a precondition to any sort of sustainable economic development.
We maintain that technology, properly deployed, can significantly increase access to primary care with enormous potential cost savings to government-sponsored national health schemes, those employers who sponsor health insurance plans and individual consumers.
In addition, technology can reduce fraudulent healthcare reimbursement charges, speed payments to doctors and hospitals that provide services to patients and better assure the use of non-counterfeit prescription medications through electronic traceability.
Finally, by educating patients of how to best access healthcare, and by improving the patient experience you stand to improve overall outcomes and can reduce national healthcare expenditures for the betterment of the nation.
Across the globe, we believe that the health status of citizens is the true measure of a nation's prosperity. Nothing can be achieved economically or through education, if a nation lacks quality, affordable healthcare for all.
For NuMedika, it all starts in Ghana...