Flying Doctors Reaffirm Investment Potential in Nigerian Health Sector

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Kingsley Aliamaka

The Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company (FDHIC) has reaffirmed the huge investment potential in the Nigerian healthcare sector which in providing significant financial and social returns.

This was the focal point of the presentation of investor and the Founder of the FDHIC, Dr. Ola Brown, during the first edition of The Conversation with the Minister of Trade and Investment recently, the first in a series of webinars the company has planned to discuss investment potential in the country’s healthcare value chain.

The programme was tagged: FDHIC: ‘Nigeria’s healthcare indicators are a challenge, but also an opportunity’.

According to her, “Science is really a small part of building an effective healthcare system. Healthcare is not a purely philanthropic effort or charity work, it is an investment not a cost; it is trade; it is industry; it is business.”

Brown stated that Africa’s unpreparedness to handle health crises has been laid bare with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added that: “The virus also thoroughly exposed the extreme fragilities in the healthcare sector in Sub Saharan Africa. While there are many innovative companies leveraging technology and have adapted ideas to reach the most vulnerable on the continent, very few investors understand the terrain or how impactful interventions can be.”

Speaking on the investment potential in the healthcare sector, the founder of FDHIC reiterated that: “The aggregate size of the world’s healthcare sector is $5.8 trillion; 70-90 percent of all the drugs we use in sub-Sahara Africa is imported. The market for pharmaceuticals in Nigeria can reach up to $4 billion by 2026 according to a report by Mckinsey.

“For every single additional year of life expectancy, we can increase Nigeria’s GDP per capita by 4 percent.”

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, who was represent the by his Special Assistant, Abimbola Olufure, during the webinar, said: “We know that COVID-19 has exposed fragilities in our healthcare system. We have seen this at the national and sub-national levels. We have witnessed huge gaps in healthcare cap-from infrastructure to equipment, data system and supplies- in all areas which provide ample investment opportunities.”

Olufure, while addressing the concern that investment in the healthcare sector on the continent is largely seen as charity, noted that “large segments of the healthcare value chain, like the pharmaceutical, healthcare logistics as well as primary and secondary healthcare, have already delivered significant returns to investors. The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has provided significant support in the drive for investment in the sector, especially during the pandemic.

“We have fast tracked our initial development plans for investment and promotion of healthcare. The minister has advocated for additional interventions in healthcare through the Bank of Industry (BoI), and President Muhammadu Buhari has now approved funds which will be pushed into the country as an intervention stimulus specifically for the healthcare sector.

“Beyond the pandemic, we are ensuring Nigerians that we attract investment and develop local capacity in the sector for the future so that we can attain self-sufficiency.”

The Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company is a leading healthcare and wellness investor in Africa with portfolio companies in different sectors across the healthcare value chain. The company has been a key player in ramping up Nigeria’s COVID-19 testing capacity, particularly as it developed the first Mobile Testing Booth and Vehicle in the sub-Saharan Africa, which has now been set up across six countries across Africa.