The head, Specialised Sectors, Stanbic IBTC, Mrs Jane Ike-Okoli has tasked financial institutions to pay more attention to the needs of healthcare providers, so as to improve the health status of Nigeria.
Ike-Okoli, who made the call at the 2022 Medic West Africa Access To Healthcare Conference, in Lagos, said, the Nigerian health sector is still at an early stage.
For instance, the budget to the health sector is still less than 15 per cent, Ike-Okoli, said, adding that, “the minimum allocation to the health sector, should not be less than 15 per cent.”
To complement government’s effort, Ike-Okoli said the financial sector must set up.
“We, as financial institutions need to understand how the health business works. We need to come up with innovative solutions, without asking for an arm and a leg. We also need to leverage on strategic partnerships that would boost the healthcare businesses in Nigeria,” she averred.
As part of IBTC’s contribution to improving the health sector in Nigeria, the head of specialised sector, said: “we have launched a secured short term loan for healthcare businesses, where they can access loan for about 12 months. We have also launched the long term loan for up to three years that healthcare companies can access to carryout out projects or expand their businesses.
“We are not just lending soft loan to them, we have also leverage on strategic partnerships with dealers of health care equipment, and connect them to hospitals and laboratories.”
She, however, urged healthcare providers to understand how they can access funding or financing from institutions.
To her, “they need to build capacity, to enable present their proposals in a way that is appealing to the financial institutions. They need to understand what their revenue drivers are, how they can grow their businesses. They need to also have a plan and start looking at healthcare as a business.”
In the same vein, the Lagos state commissioner for health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said, the state government is investing a lot in the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs)while urging financial institutions and private sector to complement the efforts of the state government.
Abayomi said the state government believe and understand that the bedrock of healthcare delivery is at the PHC level, where 80 per cent of Lagosians go when they are not feeling well.
“The government is putting a lot of work and strategy into the primary healthcare structure and it is not just about building, it is about the manpower inside these facilities,” Abayomi explained.
While Lagos has commenced renovation of some of the PHCs in the state, the commissioner disclosed that the state government will soon invite the private sector to come in.
“Any one interested can either build his own PHC and manage it or take over a government facility, bring it back to operational standards and continue to run the health facility under the auspices of the primary health care board.
“That way, we will accelerate the rejuvenation of the dilapidated PHCs in the state, because the government can’t build all of them in one or two years. It is going to take us five to 10 years to completely transform the landscape with new designs. So moving forward, with the private sector now involved, it is going to be a combination of refurbishing,” he stated