A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Ghana and two Italian organisations for the establishment of an excellence center in Ghana and to support and encourage cooperation in distant medical consultations for international patients.

The MoU, signed by the Health Minister, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (MP for Dormaa central)  with the two organisations— Gruppo San Donato and Universita Vita-Salute San Rafael on the side-lines of the second European Corporate Council On Africa And Middle East (ECAM) held in Italy from October 31 to November 1 2021, provides a legal framework within which the parties may conduct their relationship and set out modalities of cooperation.

While the MoU does not create any contractual relationship between the parties, it sets the grounds for the parties to work together in the true spirit of partnership.

All telemedicine cooperation projects, entered into under the MoU, will obey national legislations with medical specialties and scope of activities determined by both Parties.

Both parties will also explore annual visits, and will support Ghana with training opportunities for its health professionals as well as explore Scientific research and academic exchange by both parties.

Making a presentation at the conference on the theme: “The role of Ghana as a strategic regional healthcare hub in West Africa”, Hon Agyeman-Manu said Ghana has identified Medical tourism as a key agenda of the Government to move the country’s health system forward. With Agenda 111, and the country’s management of COVID-19, he noted that Ghana stands ready to lead in medical service delivery in West Africa with advancement in infrastructure, medical service value chain, education and research.

He added that the country is also working on an agenda of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ and ensuring it achieves Universal Health Coverage (UHC). To this end, Ghana has put together the key architectural documentations to ensure it is able to embark on PPPs. The measures include the PPP Act. 1039 of 2020 and a policy document.

He added that the country is also going to focus on medical services where it has comparative advantages such as cardiothoracic surgery, invitro fertilization and other fertility solutions, orthopaedics, traditional medicine, among others.

“We plan to ensure we gain international accreditation seals on our facilities to ensure we achieve this. We plan to deploy a lot of technology in our medical tourism drive. This will include but not limited to e health, m health, artificial intelligence etc,” he said.

A key set back identified, Hon Agyeman-Manu stated, is the “fact that government resources alone cannot enable us to achieve this” calling on private capital all over the world, including Italy, to join hands with Ghana.

He said Ghana aims to link with Italian companies to collaborate and acquire support to develop a National Vaccine Institute.

He emphasised that the world must ensure that digital revolution benefits everyone and that no country can survive alone without strategic partners.

Vice-Chairman of the Normandy region and CEO of E4I Impact said E4I Impact aims to train entrepreneurs in Africa, contribute to human capital development and bridge the gap between African and Italian companies.

She disclosed that they are currently working in 17 African countries and have been in Ghana since 2013, working with the University of Professional Studies in Ghana to train entrepreneurs.

She added that they are also providing bridges between local entrepreneurs and Italian companies and are operating more in the agriculture value chain, social housing and ehealth.

Hon Agyeman-Manu welcomed the collaboration and emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship to Ghana with it growing youth population. He indicated that he would link E4I with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The Hon Minister said COVID-19 has taught the world the importance of a value based multilateral system saying what happened in China is affecting everyone in the world.

The ECAM Council was born with the primary objective of promoting constructive dialogue, new partnerships and strong cooperation between Europe, Africa and the MENA region. It is a private, non-profit and non-partisan association, founded on the direct initiative of Kamel Ghribi (President of GKSD Investment Holding) and Paolo Rotelli (President of Vita-Salute San Raffaele University). The purpose of the Council is to promote and develop relations between the countries of Europe, Africa and the MENA region, with Italy playing a leading role.

The ECAM Council aims to raise awareness in both the private and public sector of the fact that healthcare is perhaps the wisest and most important investment that can be made by either individuals or governments. The ECAM Council’s vision sees a world where the fundamental pillars of society such as healthcare and education are viewed as economic investments not burdens.

It is mission driven, with a strong focus on long term investments and partnerships in health services, infrastructure, education, research and training.

The ECAM Council promotes authoritative and intellectual exchanges across borders, cultures and languages. The Forum is promoted by Gruppo San Donato (GSD) and GKSD Investment Holding in collaboration with the European House- Ambrosetti.

The 2021 Conference was held on the Theme “New Ways to Care”. Ghana’s team at the conference was led by Hon Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Minister of Health. Other members in the team were Dr. Emmanuel Odame, Director, Policy Planning Monitoring Evaluation, MoH and Madam Linda Nanbigne, Personal Assistant, Minister of Health.