Sanford Health to build 300 clinics in Ghana

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A clinic organization named for St. Paul native and noted philanthropist T. Denny Sanford is in the process of building 300 facilities in Ghana.

Forum News Service says Sanford Health has signed an agreement with the African nation's government to invest $30 million over the next decade to help build the clinics. Ghana has also promised to contribute "multimillions of dollars," FNS says.

Sanford Health established the first of its five clinics in Ghana in 2012 and broke ground on its sixth international clinic Wednesday, the Argus Leader reports.

The organization says that it expects to serve 4.5 million patients a year by 2020.

Sanford Health reportedly plans to establish hub clinics in each of the country's 10 regions, which will in turn serve remote, rural "satellite" clinics.

"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," said Jim Slack, vice president of Sanford International Clinics, tells the Argus Leader.

Sanford Health benefactor T. Denny Sanford was born in St. Paul in 1935 and has a net worth of $1.3 billion, Celebrity Net Worth says.

Based in South Dakota, Sanford is the state's richest person, and his net worth was largely accumulated when he owned First Premier Bank and its subsidiary Premier Bankcard, the site says. Sanford is the biggest company in South Dakota, according to this map of the biggest business in each state.

The company bills itself as the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation, with locations in 126 communities in nine states, including Minnesota. Sanford Health will also open its first clinic in China this fall, and has more planned for the country, as well as Mexico.

The Ghana clinic initiative is one of five priorities of a $400 million gift made by Sanford in 2007, FNS says. Sanford gave $400 million in 2007 to the Sioux Valley Health System, which in turn adopted the philanthropist's name.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Sanford, 78, has given away more than $1 billion to hospitals, clinics and medical research facilities around the world. In June, Sanford was named "2014 Nice Guy of the Year" by The Nice Guys, a San Diego civic club that annually gives millions of dollars to charitable causes.

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