As a medical school graduate and an apprentice physician, Dr. Wisdom Amegbletor wanted what many people want, to use his skills not only to make a living, but also to make a difference. In 2003, he opened his own private clinic in Ashaiman, not far from where he had grown up. New Crystal Health Services was tiny, with just four beds, one doctor, and four other staff members. But it provided much-sought-after basic health services for the urban poor.
Eighteen years later, New Crystal is a multifaceted health care business with about 450 employees, six hospitals, a pharmacy, a dental care service, a diagnostic laboratory, a microfinance firm oriented toward medical emergencies, and a health care training institute. It continues to maintain the same basic mission that he started out with, which was to meet the needs of all patients regardless of income level. Most of New Crystal’s patients are working people raising families in dense, urban communities in Ashiaman and in Tema, Ghana. With the public healthcare system overcrowded, and the private sector usually catering to the wealthier middle class, New Crystal is helping meet Ghana’s growing health needs, especially for the low income segment, and sustaining itself as a business by filling this gap in demand for care.