Isabella “Naana” Asante spent over 25 years working as a nurse in New York where she understood best practices in healthcare. As a Ghanaian living in the United States, she had a desire to bring back the knowledge she spent years acquiring and as early as 2005, the wheels of innovation were turning and she had had an idea of creating a homecare agency for Ghana’s aging population and patients with chronic illnesses that would need specialised care.
Addressing Market Challenges
To enter the market, she had to get licenses and clearance from authorities, while serving as a nurse in one of Ghana’s largest teaching referral hospitals. She was intentional in understanding She was intentional in understanding what it took to manage and deliver quality care under challenging conditions. She was exposed to the alternatives that some healthcare facilities would take in order to provide the bare minimum of life-saving healthcare despite poor infrastructure and inadequate medical supplies.
She understood that some people had a fear of the healthcare industry in Africa. Determined to change the narrative, in 2015, she was approached by a surgeon at the second largest teaching referral hospital who spoke of experiences with an erratic power supply.
“Machines that were needed to wash and sterilise gowns were not available, and this meant delay in surgeries which for a committed healthcare professional is totally unacceptable.”
All Roads Lead to China
Flying back to the United States for alternatives on the challenge proved to be costly and unsustainable as the demand increased, but the supply was not sufficient. Facilities were not able to afford these solutions which led Isabella flying to the Canton Fair in China with only a sample of what she was looking for and a fear of falling prey to fraudulent manufacturers. The odds seemed to have been in her favour as her daughter had a friend with a father who not only worked in China but specialised in healthcare and even took the extra step of carrying out on-ground research for Isabella for months leading to a manufacturer that Isabella would term as a blessing.
A Business Break Through
“ I gave the manufacturer my sample and told her “this is what I want”, she later stated that “you know Africa people do this…”, I was quick to let her know that I was not interested in what Africa people do, but what African people deserve, the same quality and experience that patients in America have. I wanted the same thing for Ghana, and she was able to do it for me.”
Now the CEO of a company that provides mainly disposable and pre-packaged surgical supplies with a vision of becoming a one-stop-shop for medical supplies in Ghana, Isabella’s products’ unique profile have gained popularity. She spends her efforts creating awareness in hospitals, individual practitioners and association meetings on her product’s safety profile, efficacy and the long-term cost-saving.
Marketing by Referral
Isabella Healthcare Services products entered medical networks that created self-sustaining marketing system till date but even with monetary success, she is still keen on positioning the Isabella brand to wider audiences and even creating awareness on quality healthcare and preventative measures.
What is in the future?
Isabella Healthcare Services positions itself as a provider and manufacturer of quality healthcare products not only in Ghana, but the entire continent of Africa.