Global investors are planning to plug Nigeria’s $82 billion health deficit

In Africa’s largest country, the coronavirus pandemic has sharpened the spotlight on a health-care investment deficit and international investors are attempting to fill the gap.

African health-care assets had started to build concern more widely, long before the pandemic. In November 2019, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation joined with the Investment Fund for Health in Africa-II (IFHA-II) to form a $115 million purchase platform for healthcare provider providers in the east and south of the continent.

After the advent of the pandemic, 100 billion naira ($254.6 million) have been released by the Nigerian government in state credit facilities for healthcare, from pharmaceutical firms and suppliers of drugs to service providers, which has evidently sparked greater demand from private investors. A further 50 billion naira is supplied by the Bank of Business, a Nigerian infrastructure finance agency.

“The construction of world-class healthcare facilities across Africa, but particularly in Nigeria, is a very compelling opportunity,” said Hafeez Giwa, managing partner at HC Capital Properties, which has started to invest in health-care assets in Nigeria.

Another potential was outlined by Tosin Runsewe, CEO of healthcare investment company AfyACare Nigeria: mandatory health benefits for federal workers would decrease insurance premiums and the amount of healthcare costs covered could increase to between 20 percent and 30 percent by 2030.

The Knight Frank study emphasised that, as it is, about 72 percent of household health care spending is out-of-pocket, relative to the sub-Saharan average of 35 percent, and just 5 percent of health care is provided by insurance.

Runsewe said, “The cost of this treatment could be met by a health insurance premium of just around 20,000 Naira ($50) per year, half of the current average cost, if we were able to reach a critical mass of 40 million to 60 million Nigerians covered by healthcare.”

“In private primary health centres, there are a number of ways for investors to provide coverage at an affordable cost.”

Due to both “extreme need” and government policies that have made it easier to grow high-quality assets that provide affordable care, Giwa said HC Capital Properties was investing in Nigeria. He indicated that these prospects are actually being pursued by two forms of investors.

Giwa said, “In the one hand, there are local foreign investors and local pension funds who, in the case of Nigeria, are investors in Naira and have no currency risk concerns.” “On the other hand, companies and institutions are intrigued about the possibility of offering high-quality healthcare to Nigerians with lower and middle incomes.”

He believes the pandemic to have led to a “permanent change in thinking” that would bring more emphasis on better health care at home. According to a recent PwC survey, Nigeria currently loses up to $1 billion per year to outbound health tourism among wealthy Nigerians due to insufficient domestic access.

SME Health Providers In 5 African Countries Get US$30m Funding

A new emergency loan guarantee facility of more than USD 30 million under the Open Doors African Private Healthcare Initiative is projected to support private and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) healthcare providers in five high malaria burden countries in Africa.

The loan will help healthcare providers in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda to continue to provide more than five million Africans critical health services, including malaria treatment.

“As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our clients are under increased strain and see patient visits and sales falling. This partnership allows them to better encourage wellness entrepreneurs in order to continue delivering the necessary resources to keep their families safer,” Kennedy Okong’o, Director East Africa, and Medical Credit Fund stated.

The African Private Healthcare Open Doors Program will help keep doors open for an estimated 1,600 health facilities that provide treatment for malaria and other critical health services.

Nearly 50 percent of all healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa is provided by private sector healthcare providers, including life-saving interventions such as early malaria diagnosis and treatment, ante-natal care, and routine vaccines.

“These critical health needs could overload already overburdened health services if left unaddressed and add to the loss of life during the pandemic. For example, 2020 estimates suggest that mild disturbances in the search for care could result in as many as 100,000 additional malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa,” explained Okong’o.

The Health Financing Alliance, a consortium of leading philanthropists, businessmen, sponsors and technical partners, set up the facility to leverage major private funding to achieve a transformative impact on healthcare in Africa.

“We need innovative funding ways to help policymakers meet their optimistic health targets, with COVID-19 placing immense financial pressure on health budgets across Africa. The Open Doors African Private Healthcare Program, which funds private health services through a combination of grants and return-seeking money, is a leading example. I want to see initiatives like this one extended in the months ahead,” Ray Chambers, WHO Ambassador for Global Strategy and Health Financing and Chair, the MCJ Amelior Foundation said.

Nearly 3 million of the five million patients who may be affected by the loan facility are low-income patients, with nearly 2.4 million women and 1.4 million children at disproportionate risk of malaria and other infectious diseases.

“To safeguard health and well-being, private sector healthcare services are important. Financial funding from the African Private Healthcare Open Doors Initiative will enable them to support the response to COVID-19 and continue to deliver critical health services to keep people and communities safe,” Naveen Rao, Senior Vice President for Health, The Rockefeller Foundation said.

Malaria No More will run the lending facility and the loans will be managed by the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), a non-profit insurance investment fund.

Taiwan signs agreement to boost Somaliland’s healthcare

An agreement to develop maternal and child healthcare in the Horn of Africa nation has been signed by Taiwan and Somaliland.

The Taiwan Technical Mission will give support to Somaliland through the Ministry of Health Development in the agreement signed on Tuesday December 1, 2020, to enhance the healthcare capacity of the country through bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

Taiwan would secure a healthcare development budget in Somaliland from the agreement as part of three cooperation projects in which the two countries will participate.

‘According to the aforementioned Framework Agreement on Technical Cooperation and the fact-finding surveys conducted since last February, Taiwan and Somaliland have reached consensus on the implementation of the following three cooperation projects: the collaborative project with the Ministry of Health on Maternal and Infant Health Improvement; the collaborative project with the Ministry of Agriculture Development of Improving Vegetable and Fruits Production and Quality Improvement Project; and the project collaborating with Ministry of Information and Technology of Enhancing the e-Government Capability in Somaliland,” a statement from the Taiwan embassy in Somaliland capital Hargeisa stated.

In the presence of Ambassador Allen C. Lou, Representative of Taiwan in Somaliland, and Hon, a technical office within the Taiwan embassy for the management of projects was opened. Lebanon Yusuf Osman, acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Mohammed Abdi Gereye, Director-General of the Ministry of Health Development, Mr Mars Shiue, Head of the Taiwan Technical Mission and officials of the Hargeisa Group Hospital.

The ceremony was a follow-up to Hon’s signing of the Framework Agreement on Technical Cooperation. Dr. Jaushieh Joseph Wu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the ROC (Taiwan) and Hon. Yasin Hagi Mohamoud, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Somaliland, 17 August 2020.

The Taiwan Representative Office in Hargeisa convened a similar virtual conference on 16 November 2020 on the subject of the ‘Maternal and Child Health Care Development Project and exchanging experience in the battle against COVID-19.’

“All these efforts reflect the strong will of Taiwan to improve the healthcare capacity of Somaliland through bilateral cooperation between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Taiwan Embassy stated in its statement.

“This ceremony is a symbol of the strong will of Taiwan to work with like-minded partners and natural allies to implement Somaliland’s cooperation projects.”

Kenya Airways Unveils Ultra-modern Pharma Facility

Kenya Airways (KQ) has unveiled a state-of-the-art pharma facility at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) through its cargo arm KQ Cargo to help meet demand for medical shipments around the world.

According to Dick Murianki, KQ Cargo Manager, the immediate aim of the facility would be to boost logistics for the delivery of a possible COVID-19 vaccine in Africa.

Mr. Murianki says “KQ Cargo has worked closely with pharmaceutical and medical customers to ensure that they are able to safely and effectively meet their vaccine transport needs to travel efficiently once the vaccine has been licenced by the regulators.”

“Although coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in the pharmaceutical facility will help meet the global demand for pharmaceutical products in preparation for the big task of transporting medications, vaccines, blood samples and temperature-sensitive cargo by providing an end-to-end cold chain logistics solution,” he added.

Since March of this year the national carrier has been transporting essential goods and medical supplies, some 6,000 tonnes of much-needed medical equipment to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi was a distribution and logistics hub in Africa and was ranked by ACI as the second fastest-growing cargo airport in the world in 2019.

KQ has also joined forces with global leaders in cold chain technologies to deliver active and passive packaging with dedicated equipment for streamlined cold chain operations.

United States Delivers 14 Ventilators to Mombasa, Kenya

Mombasa, Kenya, 1 November 2020 – The Government of the United States, through the U.S. The Agency for International Development (USAID) is donating 14 new , modern ventilators to Mombasa, Kenya, to help fight against COVID-19.

This is the new transfer of ventilators as part of the promised donation by the United States of 200 ventilators across Kenya. The 200 ventilators are all distributed directly to hospitals in need of life-saving equipment. Before receiving the ventilators, the United States provided medical professionals with instruction on how to properly use and store the ventilators. If completed, the donation will provide much-needed assistance to hospitals around the country to support Kenyans dealing with COVID-19.

The donation delivers on President Trump’s commitment to provide critically needed supplies to support Kenya’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter, and visiting USAID Acting Administrator John Barsa announced the donation of a total of 200 ventilators at the Ministry of Health on October 5, 2020.

As for the donation, Ambassador McCarter said, “President Trump is delivering on his promise to President Kenyatta. This donation is part of the ongoing dedication of the United States to the health and protection of Kenyans and, in addition to the Ksh 7.6 billion already spent on the fight against COVID-19 in Kenya and Ksh 60 billion annually on the fight against HIV / AIDS , tuberculosis and malaria. Donations like these ventilators and drugs have saved the lives of millions of Kenyans.

The ventilators, produced in the United States, have leading-edge technology. They are compact, deployable, and provide Kenya with flexibility in treating patients affected by the virus, as well as those who require breathing support for other conditions.

“USAID is delivering the ventilators directly to the facilities selected by the Kenyan government and ensuring that the serial numbers are recorded in the inventory books of the counties receiving them,” said USAID Mission Director Mark Meassick.

National and county authorities have signed a letter of enforcement banning the selling or export of ventilators. In addition , the United States provides accompanying supplies, service schedules, training and other technical assistance. As part of the Road to Self-Reliance, USAID will educate health care staff not only on how to use ventilators, but also on critical care patient management.

Through the All-of-America strategy, the United States is providing life-saving assistance by working with the Government of Kenya and other stakeholders to identify priority investment areas. Since an infectious disease threat can become a threat everywhere, the United States is calling on other donors to contribute to the global effort to fight COVID-19.

Uganda to sign an agreement with Swiss Pharmaceutical Firm

The Government of Uganda is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding via the Ministry of Health with Novartis, a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel , Switzerland, to improve the delivery of health services, especially in the fight against Sickle cell.

According to Dr Charles Kiyaga, the National Coordinator for sickle cell program at the Ministry of Health the partnership will allow Ugandans struggling with genetic diseases to access cheap health services from selected government Regional Referral Hospitals.

“The goal of this new public-private collaboration is to improve the diagnosis and care of people with sickle cell disease in Uganda by making a new medication developed by the pharmaceutical industry available to the public at a cheaper price in the four regional hospitals,” said Kiyaga.

In this agreement, the pharmaceutical firm will supply a medication called Hydroxyurea to the Ministry of Health, which is considered strong in the treatment of the symptoms of the sickle cell.

This medication has been available in the country but has only been accessed via private hospitals, making it very costly.

The drug that was reported as an indication of Sickle cell last year will be obtained and distributed to the regional hospitals of Jinja, Lira Gulu among other hospitals.

In addition to promoting the procurement of medicines, the agreement will also discuss other difficulties that the Ministry faces in alleviating sickle cell issues, including advocacy, research, among others.

Kiyaga said, “This collaboration will allow us to engage in advocacy in conjunction with additional organisations to help minimize the burden of Sickle cell and help ensure programs’ long-term viability of the services.”