Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company (FDHIC) has championed efforts for growth in trade and investment opportunities in the Nigerian healthcare sector.
Ola Brown, FDHIC founder, leading this movement said years of research and close monitoring of activities in the sector revealed to her that healthcare is an investment, not a cost.
“Healthcare is trade. Healthcare is an industry. Healthcare is business”, she said hosting the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment of Nigeria, Otunba Adebayo during the first edition of ‘ The Conversation’ with the company.
Speaking on the investment potential in the healthcare sector, Brown pointed out that in a world healthcare sector grossing $5.8 trillion, 70 to 90 per cent of all the drugs used in sub-saharan Africa is imported. The market for pharmaceuticals in Nigeria can hit about $4 billion by 2026, she said citing a Mckinsey report.
“For every single additional year of life expectancy, we can increase Nigeria’s GDP per capita by 4 per cent,” she added.
She queried efforts being made to make the sector more enabling, saying 70 per cent of Nigerians, for instance, pay out-of-pocket for healthcare while 7 per cent of people in South Africa do the same.
She hence called for new ways to provide healthcare insurance, digitise the process and also use the internet to reach remote places which can be explored to create affordable healthcare.
Abimbola Olufure, representing the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment during the webinar admitted that COVID-19 has exposed the fragilities in Nigeria’s healthcare system, with huge gaps apparent from infrastructure to equipment, data system and supplies ─ all areas which provide ample investment opportunities.
Addressing the concern that investment in the healthcare sector on the continent is largely seen as charity, Olufure said “large segments of the healthcare value chain, like pharmaceutical, healthcare logistics as well as primary and secondary healthcare already deliver significant returns to investors.”