Hand-in-Hand for Health: How Governments and the Private Sector Can Come Together

By Belinda Ngongo,
Senior technical advisor for global health, Medtronic Foundation ; Samantha Rick,
Deputy director, Frontline Health Workers Coalition
October 31, 2019
Last year in Ghana, Anthony Opoku-Acheampon felt dizzy and had a headache. His son and wife drove him to C&J Hospital for help. But instead of examining him, a nurse turned the 70-year-old man away, saying there wasn’t an available bed.
The family visited six more hospitals and heard the same refrain—there were no beds. Opoku-Acheampon died in his son’s car outside LEKMA Hospital, causing an outcry around the country over “no bed syndrome.”
Opoku-Acheampon’s death spurred a government investigation into space allotment at public hospitals that found that hospitals didn’t lack space—the bed management systems were being mismanaged, resulting in out-of-date information for health workers.
The Ghanaian Minister of Health decided the country needed external expertise to help patients navigate the health system and access the high-quality services they needed. He was interested in a private-public partnership.
Barriers to collaboration
This was one story we heard this month at the Africa Health Business Symposium in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
IntraHealth International and the Medtronic Foundation hosted a session for government representatives and private-sector stakeholders from across the continent to discuss how we can strengthen community health by focusing on the frontline health workforce and program collaboration.