• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Healthcare investment can solve Nigeria’s economic challenges – Brown

Healthcare investment can solve Nigeria’s economic challenges  –  Brown

Ola Brown, member of the Federal Republic (MFR) national honours awardee, healthcare investor and Founder Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, has said that Nigeria’s economic challenges can be solved through strategic ongoing investments in the healthcare sector.

She said this during her presentation at the 2022 Nigeria Healthwatch Conference tagged ‘The Political Economy of Health: Investing in the Future of Nigeria’ which was held in Abuja recently.

While highlighting the four key reasons why young Nigerians are relocating from the country with their families, Brown, whose company invests in technology-enabled healthcare businesses, fintech startups as well as public private partnerships (PPP) healthcare infrastructure projects in Africa, opined that it is possible to address those concerns through sustained investments in the healthcare sector.

“In my interaction with people travelling out of the country in recent times, they mentioned some reasons for their decision to relocate, chief among which are: Nigeria does not have the necessary healthcare facilities to take care of their families in a medical emergency and so they are scared; the level of insecurity and constant news of kidnappings in the country; lack of opportunities exemplified by the over 36 percent unemployment rate in the country; and macro-economic indices like high inflation rate, currency instability and high interest rates,” Brown said.

“The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) was created by an economist to help solve Britain’s economic problem so that British people could become more productive. So, when we invest in healthcare, we are not just investing in healthcare but in the economy. The largest employer of skilled labour in the entire world is the NHS in the UK.

“The reason I link healthcare to both security and employment is because if you have a job, you won’t go and join Boko Haram since you won’t be idle. If Nigeria is able to invest in a sector that has massive job creation potentials then we will be able to solve both the security problem and the unemployment problem,” she said.

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Brown established Nigeria’s first operational emergency services business, Flying Doctors Nigeria, over a decade ago that now serves over 40 countries across the world, providing ground and air ambulance evacuations services. Its parent company, Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, has current investments in about 50 companies worth over $668m.

They have delivered about seven Private Public Partnerships (PPP) projects across Nigeria’s geopolitical zone, and played a significant role in the fight against COVID-19 spread in Nigeria through the design and manufacture of the first COVID-19 mobile testing booth and vehicle in West Africa which reduced the risk of infection for health workers by up to 90%, as well as ownership use of Nigeria’s first isopod, an advanced medical transport unit that enables the efficient air transfer of patients with highly contagious diseases.

“For many developed countries, 2020 showed that what the world thought was a global supply chain was actually a Chinese supply chain. The West is now looking to diversify their sources of raw materials and medicine security which presents an opportunity Nigeria can take advantage of. Because we lack forex, when we manufacture and then export, we are able to generate more foreign currency. If we are able to do more Public Private Partnerships projects (PPP), that improves investment and stimulates other sectors of the economy.”

The 8th Edition of the Future of Health Conference provided a high-level platform for key stakeholders in policy, governance, economics, and healthcare to discuss the factors that influence Nigeria’s health policies.