Sanford Health looks to build hundreds of clinics in African nation of Ghana to treat millions



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SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota — Sanford Health is looking to open more than 300 clinics in Ghana in the next five years to treat millions of patients.

The Dakotas-based health network has opened five clinics in the African nation since 2012 and broke ground last week for a sixth. The clinics have treated more than 180,000 patients.

Sanford said in a statement that it hopes to serve 4.5 million patients annually by 2020 through a partnership with Ghana's Ministry of Health.

"Much of the rural population in Ghana does not have access to basic care," said Kojo Taylor, president of Sanford International Clinic-Ghana. "The addition of these clinics will greatly change the scope of health care across the nation. Thousands of families will no longer be forced to travel for basic services."

Ghana, on the Atlantic coast of Africa, has 26 million residents in an area the size of Oregon. Families can buy a government health card for $30 a year to cover the care they need.

"Ghana has health insurance cards, but most people don't sign up because they don't have a clinic close to home. What we bring to them is access," Jim Slack, vice president of Sanford International Clinics, told the Argus Leadert.

Sanford plans to invest $30 million over 10 years. A Sanford hub will be in each of Ghana's 10 regions, with each hub having an average of 30 satellite clinics.

Sanford bills itself as the United States' largest not-for-profit rural health care system, with facilities in 126 communities in nine states. It also is developing clinics in Israel, Mexico and China.

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