The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority has pledged to invest about $20 million to develop diagnosis and cancer treatment in three tertiary heath care institutions in the country.
The benefiting institutions are Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) and Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia (FMCU).
NSIA disclosed this at the signing of a joint venture and other project agreement for investment with the Ministry of health in Abuja on Wednesday.
The agency said it would be investing up to $10 million to upgrade the Cancer Centre at LUTH and another $10 million in AKTH and FMCU to set up advanced diagnostic centres.
Funds for the projects designed to commence before the end of this year will be deployed to build, equip, maintain and operate a private centre for advanced radiotherapy treatment at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
It will also be used to build, equip, maintain and operate private modern medical diagnostic centres at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH); and Federal Medical Centre Umuahia (FMCU).
LUTH and NSIA are partnering under the existing Medical PPP programme initiated by the Federal Ministry of Health to build, equip, maintain and operate a centre for advanced radiotherapy treatment at LUTH.
“As part of this initiative, NSIA is considering an investment of up to US$10 million to fund the acquisition of a high energy Linear Particle Accelerator (“LINAC”) (for external radiotherapy); a low energy LINAC (for external radiotherapy); a Brachytherapy system (for internal radiotherapy); a CT simulator (for radiotherapy planning); and Construction/upgrading of bunkers for the two LINACs,” NSIA said.
For AKTH and FMCU, aggregate investment of up to US$10 million will cover design and construction of the Medical Diagnostic Centres in Kano State and Abia State, purchase of radiography equipment for the centres including a 1.5T MRI, a 160 slice CT, three digital X-ray machines, four ultrasound machines and other ancillary equipment; acquisition of supporting software and accessories, furniture and IT Equipment for the centres and power generation solutions for the centres.
NSIA said the money would come through its Health Development and Investment Company (NHDIC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health.
The Chairman Board of Directors of NSIA, Jide Zeitilin, said healthcare infrastructure is one of the five key focus areas of its infrastructure investment strategy, because the NSIA knows quality healthcare services are essential to the productivity of any economy.
He said in many parts of the world, government and the private sector collaborate in committing significant financial and technical resources to ensure citizens have access to health care.
“In Nigeria’s case, our healthcare sector is nascent at best. Many specialist services are unavailable, resulting in the estimated $1 billion Nigerians spend on healthcare through medical tourism. Where services are available, the costs are often prohibitive,” he said.
Mr. Zeitilin said NSIA’s healthcare strategy is to focus on non-communicable diseases and provide treatment for cardiovascular, renal, orthopedic and oncological conditions.
He said this is because non-communicable diseases are often as devastating as the communicable ones and contributed almost a quarter of the disease burden of Nigeria in 2016.
According to him, the statistic represents a 30% increase in prevalence over the last decade.
“Clearly, it is time due attention is accorded to these types of diseases,” he said.
“Our hope is that these modest investments will help with early detection as well as management of NCDs. We are also hopeful that our investments will catalyse larger pools of capital as we seek to attract more investors to the sector,” he added.
Speaking at the signing, Mr. Uche Orji, MD/CEO NSIA, said enhancement of healthcare infrastructure in these institutions will contribute towards raising the quality and standard of care in Nigeria with outcomes which are consistent with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
“In addition, it will demonstrate the economic potential of healthcare investments in Nigeria and catalyze private sector participation. Expectedly, the investments will assist in bridging the infrastructure gap in the healthcare sector and help reduce the burden of medical tourism which is estimated to drain over $1 billion in foreign exchange annually,” he said.
Commenting on the development, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole said one of the most important aspects of healthcare is investment in infrastructure.
He said while the ministry maintains that individuals must be empowered to track their health and encouraged to maintain positive and healthy lifestyles, government must create an enabling environment for accessible, affordable and effective healthcare services locally.
“This investment, though focused on Non-Communicable Diseases, is the first of many which we believe will shape the future of healthcare in Nigeria and bring quality healthcare to many,” he said.