By Obinna Chima
The founder of the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, has established the Adopt-a-Health-Facility Programme (ADHFP), a private sector-driven initiative to provide universal health access for low-income citizens residing in rural and urban areas in Nigeria.
The initiative is in collaboration with the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PSHAN).
Speaking in an interview with the management of GBCHealth, a New York-based leading private sector coalition on health on ongoing plans in Nigeria recently, Aig-Imoukhuede, former Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, expressed optimism that the initiative would help Africa to win the battle for better healthcare.
Aig-Imoukhuede reiterated how unacceptable it was for Africa to continue suffering the effects of diseases like HIV, AIDS and Malaria long after the rest of the world has tamed them.
“Advanced countries built their capacity to solve their own problems. It is time for us to do the same,” he added.
With the recent scourge of COVID-19, Aig-Imoukhuede is seeking to bring Nigerians and other stakeholders into what he described as “the business of saving lives.”
According to him, the initiative primarily entails delivering, one Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in each of Nigeria’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) at global standards.
ADHFP would be sponsored by a group of Angel Investors and other institutions. These “Angels” would each take responsibility for one or more PHCs as they are expected to build and operate the PHCs for the period of adoption under strict rules and guidelines.
The ADHFP is a multi-impact initiative with several benefits which includes saving lives; improvement in health outcomes; job creation and gender empowerment. Others include a reduction in mortality rates; improved public sector accountability; female gender empowerment; increased uptake of micro-health insurance and successful health policy reform.
“The ADHFP is driven by my belief that the African continent will continue to carry the painful and the shameful burden of high disease mortality long after the rest of the world has overcome such challenges unless we address the poor state of healthcare systems at the primary level.
“The ADHFP was conceived early in 2019 well before I had ever heard of the word ‘Coronavirus’. Interestingly, whilst championing the Global Citizens global goal live campaign in Davos this January, I made the case that it is unacceptable for Africa to continue suffering the effects of pandemics like HIV/AIDS and Malaria long after the rest of the world has put them to bed.
“I said Nigerians and other stakeholders must launch a movement to revive our ailing healthcare sector starting by fixing the 80 per cent of our 30,000 primary healthcare facilities, which are currently comatose.
“COVID-19 is a burning platform for change and reform in Africa’s health sector.
“With COVID-19 beaming a spotlight on the weaknesses and inadequacies of our health system, the pandemic has simply reinforced, with devastating effect, the reasons ADHFP was conceptualised in the first place. As the pandemic spreads, it has become evident to Nigerians that our primary health system must be fixed with urgency, otherwise, our people will continue to die needlessly,” Aig-Imoukhuede, who is also, the Vice-Chair of Global Citizen said.
The design phase of the initiative would involve the participation of notable development-focused organisations including Global Citizen, ABCHealth, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), MTN Nigeria Plc, Dangote Group, Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Stanbic-IBTC Bank, PwC, Cisco, Ford Foundation, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Flying Doctors Nigeria, among others.