The need for an improved healthcare system in Nigeria can no longer be ignored. For a country with the highest human resource on the continent, healthcare needs to be a priority. This is, however, far from Nigeria’s reality as it continues to rank high among countries with healthcare burdens.
The numbers surrounding Nigeria’s healthcare are staggering. It is more alarming considering the level of importance attached to the sector by its Government. For more perspective, Nigeria spends less than 4.5% of its annual budget on health. One direct implication of this is that 77..2% of her citizens pay for healthcare services from their pockets.
As this challenge and more persist, there is a need for deliberate and urgent funding. This effort needs to be championed by the government with an equal amount of support from private players in the sector. This is because Increased healthcare funding will not only improve the overall health of the country but also spur its economic and social growth.
Although funding remains an issue in Nigeria, private healthcare companies are doing more with less. Here is how Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company’s portfolio companies are providing solutions to some of the top causes of death in Nigeria.
“An average Nigerian is one terminal illness away from poverty”. This is true considering the spending power on health for most citizens and the statistics on healthcare in Nigeria. Due to the low or lack of funding in healthcare, Nigerians are more likely to die of certain diseases than anywhere else in the world. Some of these diseases include lower respiratory tract infection, malaria, diarrheal illness and HIV as they rank 1st, 4th, 5th, and 3rd respectively as top causes of death in Nigeria.
According to WHO, lower respiratory tract infection and pneumonia are two of the leading causes of death, accounting for more than 4 million fatalities annually. Lower respiratory tract infection is an important cause of death in low- and middle-income countries. The disease kills more people than Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), TB and malaria combined.
There are a number of FDHIC portfolio companies who are doing more with less to reduce these numbers. MDaaS Global, one of our portfolio companies, operates low-cost diagnostic centres to help diagnose and monitor patients with these infections. These diagnostics centres are currently in Ibadan, Ilorin and Osogbo.
Koniku is another portfolio company of ours, developing cutting edge technology to ensure that patients across Africa are diagnosed quicker and less invasively.
Neonatal Disorder is another cause of death in Nigeria. In fact, it is ranked 2nd on the list. According to a WHO report, Nigeria ranks second in the world, behind India, for countries with the highest neonatal record. The country also ranks first among countries in Africa. One of the reasons so many babies die is because there are very few paediatricians or neonatologists in Nigeria.
The few specialists available use telemedicine services from Helium Health to serve patients over huge distances, helping our healthcare system do more with fewer resources. Chisco Express, also one of our portfolio companies, through its pool of vehicles and cargo planes delivered life-saving medicines/oxygen and nutritional products across the country.
MDaaS Global also helps to diagnose neonates through its network of diagnostics centres and the Sentinel X platform.
Lifestyle diseases are a group of diseases caused primarily by the day to day habits of people. Most times, they are as a result of unhealthy choices made by individuals. Lifestyle Diseases such as ischemic heart disease and stroke are responsible for the 8th and 9th numbers of death in Nigeria.
Lifestores Pharmacy delivers low-cost medicines across the country using its innovative “Oga Pharmacy” program. This, in turn, reduces the cost of medicine and saves cost for the patients as well.