Healthcare for Expatriates in Ghana
Ghana is a vibrant African country that is home to a large number of expats from around the world. Those who are planning to move to Ghana are recommended to buy global healthcare. Some expats can also expect to get a similar cover under their company’s group health insurance plan. There are many insurance companies in Ghana that offer international health insurance plans to suit the specific needs of the expats. You can also have a look at this CDC Ghana link for more health-related information before you make the move.
Overview of Healthcare in Ghana
In terms of infrastructure, the healthcare facilities in Ghana are still evolving. There has been a significant push by the government to improve the healthcare system in Ghana, however, lack of funds and overcrowded hospitals continue to be a major cause of concern in the region.
The standard of care varies in different cities of Ghana. There are numerous hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies available in major urban cities like Accra. However, most of the rural areas do not have access to even the most basic healthcare facilities. Many of the locals in these regions still go for traditional African treatments instead of traveling to the cities that are based far away. The best healthcare in the country will be found in Accra.
How Ghana’s Healthcare System Works for Expats
Expats living in Ghana generally prefer to opt for private hospitals since they are better equipped and offer a considerably higher standard of treatment than public hospitals. They can also consider certain insurance plans that cover medical evacuation to avail proper treatment for some ailment in another country such as South Africa, which has a superior healthcare system. Also, supplies of blood can be limited and hygiene standards often vary greatly.
Public Healthcare in Ghana
Public hospitals in Ghana are mostly government-funded. Many religious groups in the country are also engaged in providing medical assistance to the Ghanaian population. Despite all the efforts, the lack of funds has not allowed the healthcare system to meet the needs of many locals and especially expatriates. This means that expats arriving from other countries may find the quality of healthcare in Ghana to be much lower than the healthcare available in Western countries.
The Ghanaian government introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in 2003, which overhauled the country’s healthcare system that was suffering from neglect. The system also introduced a provision that saved Ghanaian citizens to not pay upfront for any treatment. Even then, private healthcare in Ghana is able to provide superior care over the public system, and so is the preferred choice for Expats living in Ghana. Health care facilities in Ghana are poor outside Accra and Kumasi.
Private Healthcare in Ghana
Private hospitals in Ghana have access to much better medical equipment and is staffed by better trained medical technicians and doctors. Expats can get a better standard of treatment in private hospitals, but it is recommended that you consult with the medical provider’s health network for advice and direct reimbursement. It’s not that all the private hospitals in Ghana are at the same level. But those that cater to the expat population generally offer a much better quality of care. The waiting times are also much shorter in private facilities and almost the entire staff can easily communicate in English.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Expats can easily locate pharmacies across all major cities in Ghana. Many of these are 24-hour pharmacies. However, not all of these pharmacies have the license to dispense prescribed medications. This is because certain pharmacies in the country sell fake and low-quality drugs. Expats should always check that the medicines they buy have the approval of the Ghanaian Pharmacy Council. Those who suffer from chronic ailments are recommended to bring their prescribed medications along from their home country itself.
Expats can call for an ambulance by dialing 193, though public ambulance services are not that great. Private ambulance services are there too, however, expats are suggested to make their arrangements to reach hospitals in the case of an emergency.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Ghana
Ghana’s healthcare system has improved drastically over the years. However, expats are still strongly recommended to buy international health insurance from companies that have a global footprint & the ability to provide global treatment. They can go for popular health insurance from companies like Allianz and Cigna. Expats can compare the insurance plans offered by such global insurance companies, including the kind of coverage they provide, premiums, whether emergency evacuation in available or not, and more.