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EY advocates PPP to bridge Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructure gap

As public sector funding for critical healthcare slows, Ernst & Young (EY) has advocated for a public-private partnership (PPP) financing model to bridge Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructure gap.

With an estimated population of over 200 million people in Nigeria and per capita healthcare expenditure of less than $100, there is no denying that the Nigerian healthcare sector is faced with several challenges, including insufficient funding and inadequate healthcare infrastructure.

Ashish Bakhshi, Senior Partner/Head of Markets, Ernst & Young (EY) West Africa, while speaking at the EY annual healthcare conference 2022, with the theme ‘Accelerating Access to quality healthcare in Nigeria’ said there is a need to promote public-private partnership capable of delivering more joint ventures; more hospitals and better healthcare delivery outcomes to the people.

“Healthcare is very important to Nigeria and EY globally believes every country needs to have a good healthcare system,” said Bakhshi, stating that Nigeria can develop its healthcare infrastructure to curb medical tourism that will help people get easy access to healthcare delivery along the entire value-chain of the healthcare ecosystem in Nigeria.

According to Bakhshi, one of the expected outcomes of the annual healthcare conference would be more education on what can be done about healthcare delivery service. “EY has a very strong CSR program and part of that is helping to set up science labs”.

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Adeyemi Johnson, founder/CEO First Cardiologist, in a keynote address said that Nigeria needs the political will to change things in the health sector, which is one of the advantages of the new Health Insurance Act that makes it mandatory for individuals to be insured.

“Without health insurance, it will be difficult to fund healthcare – it’s expensive. It has to be funded from somewhere; the money is available, it is there but hard to get. It’s the government’s way to find a way of funding health insurance,” said Johnson.

According to him, Nigeria can leverage technology for healthcare delivery as advocated by stakeholders in the sector that the country adopts a mobile phone-type initiative with the capacity to accommodate everybody.

“Technology is going to help us in healthcare. Part of the technical improvement will be data collection; with data, a lot can be done. Technology is going to get us out of this mess we are in quicker than we think,” said Johnson who also believes that “If we get pipe-borne water; 60 percent of our communicable diseases will be wiped out”.

The conference also featured panel discussions and fireside chats with panellists sharing unique insights on specific topics within the healthcare value chain. Damilola Aloba, Partner, Strategy & Transactions/Consumer Goods Industry Leader, EY West Africa, moderated one of the sessions with a consensus that 70 percent of Nigeria’s disease burden will be gone with good pipe-borne water.

According to the panellists, there is an urgent need to address the challenges in Nigeria’s healthcare system, particularly given the myriad of infectious diseases the country continues to suffer. Similarly, it was stated that the private sector can play a big role in training healthcare professionals; creating partnership schemes to help doctors and other healthcare professionals in the diaspora to come back; with continued dialogue between private and public sectors on healthcare financing.