Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is to invest $20 million to develop three healthcare facilities in three states of the federation
The move is aimed at providing Nigerians with access to world class healthcare.â€¨In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, the NSIA Healthcare Development and Investment Company (â€œNHDICâ€), an NSIA company yesterday announced the execution of a joint venture and other project agreements for investments in three federal healthcare institutions in the country.
To benefit from the initiativeare healthcare institutions like the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH, Lagos), Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH, Kano) and the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia (FMCU, Abia).
Under the arrangenent, funds will be deployed to build, equip, maintain and operate a private cancer centre for advanced radiotherapy treatment at LUTH, and to also build, equip, maintain and operate private modern medical diagnostic centres at AKTH and the FMCU.
The Cancer Centre at LUTH will be upgraded to provide specialist care for cancer treatment while AKTH and FMCU will focus on diagnostics providing medical microbiology services, routine chemical pathology, haematology tests and advanced radiography including MRI and CT services.
The investment is expected to upgrade these institutions to modern medical centres and significantly enhance Nigeriaâ€™s ability to treat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The NSIA believes that â€œthe investments will assist in bridging the infrastructure gap in the healthcare sector and help reduce the burden of medical tourism which is estimated to drain over $1 billion in foreign exchange annually.
The investment, the NSIA also believes is intended to provide access to advanced healthcare services for the benefit of lower income families many of whom have limited access to care. As part of the programme, NHDIC has procured the services of internationally renowned equipment vendors including Varian (Switzerland), Siemens (Germany), JNC International (Nigeria) and Fuji Films (Japan) to provide turnkey services including civil works, design, equipment installation and maintenance services for the centres.
Each centre will run as a joint venture between NSIA and the respective tertiary hospital to ensure timely and efficient delivery of services.
Â At the agreement signing ceremony in Abuja, the Managing Director/CEO of NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji,
noted that â€œInvesting in healthcare remains a vital component of the Nigerian Infrastructure fund strategy.
Â He said: â€œThe enhancement of healthcare infrastructure in these institutions will contribute towards raising the quality and standard of care in Nigeria with outcomes which are consistent with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. In addition, it will demonstrate the economic potential of healthcare investments in Nigeria and catalyse private sector participationâ€
Â Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of NSIA Mr. Jide Zeitlin, said the NSIAâ€™s pursuit â€œin this phase of our healthcare strategy is to focus on non-communicable diseases and provide treatment for cardiovascular, renal, orthopedic and oncological conditions. Why these diseases some may ask? The fact is that non-communicable diseases are often as devastating as the communicable ones. NCDs contributed almost a quarter of the disease burden of the country in 2016, a statistic which represents a 30 per cent increase in prevalence over the last decade. Clearly, it is time due attention was accorded to these types of diseases.â€
Â Commenting on the development, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, said: â€œOne of the most important aspects of healthcare is investment in infrastructure. While the ministry maintains the position that individuals must be empowered to track their health and encouraged to maintain positive and healthy lifestyles, â€¨the minister noted that â€œit is incumbent on government to create an enabling environment for accessible, affordable and effective healthcare services locally. This investment, though focused on non-communicable diseases, is the first of many which we believe will shape the future of healthcare in Nigeria and bring quality healthcare to many.
Under the agreement, LUTH and NSIA are partnering under the existing Medical Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme initiated by the Federal Ministry of Health to build, equip, maintain and operate a centre for advanced radiotherapy treatment at LUTH.â€¨As part of this initiative, NSIA is considering an investment of up to US$10 million to fund the acquisition of a high energy Linear Particle Accelerator (â€œLINACâ€) (for external radiotherapy); a low energy LINAC (for external radiotherapy); a Brachytherapy system (for internal radiotherapy); a CT simulator (for radio therapy planning); and Construction/upgrading of bunkers for the two LINACs. For AKTH and FMCU, the aggregate investment of up to US$10 million will cover design and construction of the Medical Diagnostic Centres in Kano and Abia States, purchase of radiography equipment for the centers including a 1.5T MRI, a 160 slice CT, three digital X-ray machines, four ultrasound machines and other ancillary equipment; acquisition of supporting software and accessories, furniture and IT Equipment for the centres and power generation solutions for the centres.