International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) have stressed the need to increase investments in the nation’s healthcare sector through Private Public Partnership (PPP).
According to duo, this would help assist the government in the major challenge bedeviling the healthcare sector, which include access to finance and healthcare delivery skill.
Indeed, late 2014, the Federal Government signed the National Health Act and approved the establishment of state-supported health insurance scheme, by the National Council on Health.
As a result, the private sector has the opportunity to play an increasing role in the delivery and financing of health services across the country especially to lower income earners.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NSIA, Uche Orji, said NSIA seeks to catalyse private sector investment in the healthcare space by establishing public-private partnerships and innovation solutions. He pointed out that “while the medical sector is among the most challenging in terms of establishing investment models; it is also one of the most impactful and is a core NSIA focus.”
Uche, who was represented by Executive Director, NSIA, Stella Ojekwe-Onyejeli, stressed that the healthcare sector in Nigeria is broad and complex, there are various sectors within the space to include primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. In each of these segments, there are challenges of finance particularly at the primary level, there are lots of Nigerians low below minimum wage.
“The challenge we face is access to finance. We hope that having engagements with IFC and the private sector, both local and international, would help us achieve the skills and solutions to Nigeria healthcare sector,” she said.
Country Manager, Nigeria, IFC, Eme Essien Lore, said the corporation is committed to help increase access to affordable quality healthcare services by financing and facilitating for integrated networks.
“This will support the development of critical health infrastructure and attract private capital into the sector. We are working with NSIA to boost investment in the healthcare sector and bridge the gap in the undersupply of quality healthcare in Nigeria.
“The challenge of access to capital as been a major complain but there are broader issues that we think that if these group of individuals comes together, we can help solve the problem.
“The expenditure on healthcare sector is improving but it is too low, we know that the private sector is the biggest provider of healthcare provision in Nigeria. The private sector has important role to play.
“The sector is so fragmented, small players operating but do not have enough skill.
She added that the focus of the partnership with private sectors is to see how we can engage with the government and commercial banks in a way to get finances to small-scale healthcare.