BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Transforming Africa’s Healthcare Industry: the Medic West Africa approach

After calls for urgent transformation of Africa’s healthcare industry were heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic which left an unprecedented toll on healthcare architecture globally, stakeholders have been brainstorming on how best to build a protective wall against future occurrences.

Most medical professionals argue there is a low incentive in practicing in Nigeria when patients with financial resources receive care overseas where their colleagues are better paid and more resourced in terms of equipment.

To address the mass exodus of skilled medical professionals and improve key components of health indicators experts say there is an urgent need for transformational growth in the healthcare industry through improvement in available equipment and medical practices.

At the core of achieving such growth lies collaborative efforts by relevant parties across the healthcare spectrum who together can redefine the delivery of healthcare.

Medic West Africa has positioned itself to play a key role in leading discussions on collaboration between healthcare professionals, the government, and Nigerians in general.

Through its upcoming 2022 exhibition and conference hosted annually, the organisation will hold the largest gathering of healthcare professionals in the West African region, offering a collective platform for healthcare professionals and stakeholders to explore the latest technological advancements within the industry and engage in discourse to enable growth in the sector.

Read also: Medic West Africa to host exhibition on healthcare innovation

The idea is that for true growth in the healthcare industry, seated at the table of discussions must include members of all stakeholder parties, not only physicians.

Discourse must include representatives of manufacturers, distributors, procurement professionals, dealers, regulators, and medical professionals from all levels.

The trend of limited coordination, cooperation, and system-planning between these groups of people has directly resulted in decreased quality of care for patients and stagnant growth in the industry.

For the company, medicine is a team effort and the issues in the Nigerian healthcare system cannot be solved without efficient inter-professional discussions.

When professionals in the healthcare space cooperate via a platform that allows each party to share their unique points of view, they can unearth long-lasting solutions, not only for patients but also for professionals.

Collaborations that result in improvement in the efficacy of the healthcare system elevate health outcomes and deliver innovative breakthroughs.

Scheduled between September 7 and 9, 2022 at the Landmark Center, Lagos, over 150 companies representing 21 countries are set to exhibit the latest advancement in healthcare equipment and processes.

Included are state-of-the-art imaging equipment, laboratory and IVD technology, developments in surgery, advances in prosthetics, and cost-effective disposables, among others.

It will serve as a networking hub for all in the healthcare ecosystem including manufacturers, distributors, procurement professionals, dealers, medical professionals, and regulators.

Some of the panels dominating the interactive sessions include topics ‘Leveraging disruption in healthcare – opportunities and challenges in technology’; ‘Human Resource for Healthcare: Building an efficient and resilient workforce’; ‘Consumer-Driven Healthcare Innovations (CDHIs)- Data, Devices and Digital Health Solutions’; and ‘COVID – A socioeconomic phenomenon.

According to an official statement from the conveners, the pandemic revealed the urgent need for transformational growth in the West African healthcare system which can only be achieved via investment in technology, people, and practices.

African countries defied the expectations of scientists across the globe who had warned of a looming breakdown. Nevertheless, after the pandemic slowed down, the fragile conditions of West African healthcare systems were revealed, spotlighting the dilapidated health institutions, a lack of funding, and rising brain drain among medical professionals.

As a result, outbound medical tourism which had become a trend in Nigeria and other West African nations intensified. According to reports, Nigeria loses over N576 billion ($1.38 billion) yearly to medical tourism, a rate that keeps growing as the national healthcare system remains inadequately funded.

These are funds that could have been used to rebuild Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructures if retained.

Medical tourism has inadvertently led to an accelerated brain drain among healthcare professionals who are disheartened by weakening institutions and scarcity of investments.

The Nigerian Medical Association reports that within two years, over 9,000 Nigerian medical doctors relocated to the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Canada.

In addition, according to the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners, at least 266 Nigerian doctors were licensed in June and July 2022.

This implies at least three Nigerian doctors were licensed per day, adding to the growing number of 9,976 Nigerian-trained doctors practicing in the UK at the moment.

The event hopes to offer solutions to improving the healthcare infrastructure with insights and partnerships that will impact the lives of every Nigerian and those of their loved ones.