L-R: Project Coordinator, Nigeria Healthcare Excellence Award, Dr shola Alabi, Project Director, NHEA, Dr. Wale Alabi, Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris and a member of Jury Board, NHEA, Dr. Tunde Olujobi, during the award ceremony in Lagos ...recently

The health sector is one area in the country where excellence is hardly celebrated, but the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award is changing the narrative through recognition of excellent hard work among the players in the industry. Martins Ifijeh writes

It was a night of chic traditional hue, dapper looking men and validation of hard work as various healthcare organisations and individuals were recognised for excellence in advocating and promoting high standards in the field of healthcare in the country.

Both nominees and guests had looked forward to the third edition of the famous Nigeria Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) with a lot of expectations, as it is often dubbed the Oscar Awards of the country’s health sector.

Every player in the industry sees it as a seal of professionalism for winners, an upgrade for nominees and an opportunity for non nominees to level up to the attainable standard of healthcare deliverables that would warrant award from the biggest healthcare recognition platform in the country.

First, over 1,670 organisations and individuals were nominated from over 80 organisations and individuals across the country for the 23 award categories, with a little below 200 shortlisted for the different categories, including Lifetime Achievement Awards for two deserving role models in the healthcare industry, among others.

The final phase of the selection process threw up between three to five most deserving organisations and individuals in the different categories, representing the final nominees invited for the award night where the best in each category was announced as winners.

For several nominees, it would not be their first time attending the Awards, which was first held in 2014, and is the brain-child of the Chief Executive Officer, Global Health Project and Resources (GHPR), Dr. Wale Alabi, and a group of colleagues who are also keen on seeing a better healthcare provision in the country. This year’s award ceremony was held in collaboration with the Anadach Group, the Federal Ministry of Health and PharmAccess Foundation.

The Awards, which focused on recognising most deserving individuals and organisations who have championed compassion, courage and contribution towards reaching the goal of quality and affordable healthcare, had its first winner for the night, Ondo State Trauma and Surgical Centre (OSTSC) as the most outstanding healthcare programme for the year. Other nominees in that category includes River State Primary Health Scheme, Akwa Ibom State Specialist Clinic and Ondo State Abiye Health Programme.

While many may wonder how the OSTSC beat its rivals to win the prize, the surgical centre, though relatively new in the industry, boasts of a world-class tertiary comprehensive surgical services to the people of Ondo State, its surrounding environs and Nigerians as a whole, which has in no small measure contributed to the reduction of medical tourism in the country.
From all indications, Ondo State is at the helm of excellent healthcare delivery in the public sector in Nigeria, and this award only buttresses that fact. It is also the only state in the federation that met the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Maternal and Child Mortality.

For Outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Project of the Year, Dangote Foundation went home as the winner. Other nominees in the category were MTN Foundation, UBA Foundation and Smile 360 Dental. Dangote Foundation, has for years championed immunisation causes in the country, among other health interventions. It is also currently building a state of the art hospital in Kano State.

Sproxil Nigeria Limited took home the award for Innovative Healthcare Service Provider of the Year. While you may not have heard of the company, it’s likely that you may have used one of its services. Sproxil was founded in 2009 by AshifiGogo to empower consumers to help combat drug counterfeiting using a simple text message, sent by the consumer from a code on the product. The company’s Defender technology is now being used in eight countries, including Nigeria, to help consumers make sure that the drugs they are purchasing are genuine products.

On the best IVF Service Provider of the Year, the Bridge Clinic, one of Nigeria’s foremost and leading fertility centres clinched the award for the second year running. The company had made successes in the field of fertility management, including over 40 per cent pregnancy rate, birth of over 2023 babies in their last 16 years of operations and most recently, live birth from a frozen egg, which is the first in Nigeria and Africa.

PathCare Nigeria clinched the awards for the best Private Laboratory Service Provider of the Year. Others in the category included Clinix Healthcare, Me Cure Healthcare and Clina Lancet Laboratories. For the healthcare community, the award is no doubt deserving for PathCare Laboratory, as it is presently the only ISO certified pathology laboratory in the country.

It was not a surprise for many, especially for those in the health sector, when the Eye Foundation Hospital was announced as the winner for the Eye Care Service Provider of the Year. The hospital, which started in 1993 is the first indigenous eye practice in the country that runs a group practice with many sub-specialised ophthalmologists, with a reputation for fighting preventive blindness in Nigeria and West Africa since the past 20 years.

JNC International Limited bagged the award for Biomedical Engineering Service Provider of the Year and Swiss Biostadt Limited clinched the award for Hospital Equipment Marketing Company of the Year for the second year running. For Pharmaceutical Operation Excellence for Manufacturing Companies, the award went to Mopson Pharmaceuticals Limited, while for Excellence in Pharmaceutical Research and Development, May and Baker took home the award for the second time.

Several other organisations continued their winning streak for the third time, including
Healthplus Pharmacy for the Best Pharmaceutical Retail Outlet of the Year, Reddington Hospital in Lagos for the Best Private Healthcare Provider of the Year and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, which again bagged the award for the Best Tertiary Healthcare Provider of the Year.

There were however special moments for outstanding personalities who have contributed in no small measure to the deepened quality of the country’s healthcare system. The two personalities nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Awards were Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, OFR, mni, who is the Founder of July Pharmacy and Professor Olu Akinyanju, (OON), who is the Chairman and Founder of Sickle Cell Foundation. The recognition also highlighted their various contributions over the years to the improvement of the health sector in the country.

Accepting his award, Prof Adelusi-Adeluyi, who was accompanied by his wife, said Nigerian Healthcare over the years has always been at the forefront of promoting innovation, teamwork, technological advancement and quality of healthcare service delivery. He therefore called for more unity in the sector to ensure improvement and more innovative growth for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Other winners of the night includes Ageless Physiotherapy as the Best Physiotherapy Service Provider of the Year, Zenith Medical and Kidney Centre for the Best Dialysis Service Provider of the Year, Realms Healthcare Service Consulting Limited, for the Best Healthcare Information Technology Provider of the Year, DCL Laboratories Product Limited for the Best Laboratory Equipment Marketing Company of the Year and Total Health Trust won the Best Health Maintenance Organisation of the year.

Others are Nwaobi Jude Chiedu of Nursing World Nigeria for winning the Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Award of the Year, Habibat Basanya of Television Continental (TVC) for winning the Healthcare Media Excellence Award –Electronic, Martins Ifijeh of THISDAY won the Healthcare Media Excellence Award –Print, and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) also went home with the Special Recognition Award – Service to Humanity.

Speaking at the award ceremony, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, noted that the recognition and celebration of the country’s healthcare champions was a well deserving one which will help in lifting the sector beyond its present state.

Represented by the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Olufemi Fasanmade, the Minister said the NHEA awards was a good initiative that deserves encouragement from all stakeholders. He also added that, “Though there are challenges facing the healthcare sector we are determined to correct and improve on it.”

The Executive Secretary, NHEA, Vivian Alikali, while describing the drive behind the awards, said it was borne out of the need to recognise and appreciate personnel who were sold out to excellence, and had integrity. “We also wanted to curb medical tourism, to show people that they can get their healthcare services here in Nigeria. We want people to appreciate their healthcare system again,” she added.

Also speaking, Moses Braimah, NHEA Director of Strategy and Communication hailed the award as the Oscar of the Nigeria healthcare sector.

The brain behind the awards, Dr. Alabi noted that the awards, being the highest honour for outstanding excellence in the health sector will serve as a drive for more organisations and individuals to work towards achieving excellence, adding that in no time Nigeria’s healthcare system will be the envy of the world.

As the 2016 NHEA has come and gone, giving room for nominations for the 2017 awards which will be held June 23rd next year, the space is again open for players in the healthcare industry to contribute their quota to the health needs of Nigerians through obtainable global standards. In just another year from now, awards will be given to deserving organisations and individuals who have exempted themselves.