The Federal Government said it is investing $100 million in the health sector in collaboration with state governments to discourage health tourism in cancer treatment, cardio-health and renal health.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Dr. Uche Orji made this disclosure while speaking with journalists on the sideline of the Partnership Agreement signing Ceremony with eight (8) States Government in Abuja.
Orji said the experiences and success of previous investment in cancer treatment centres in Lagos, Kano and Abia have spur the authority to expand its scope across the country, to provide quality healthcare to Nigerians at affordable rate.
He said pandemics like COVID-19 which hindered travels abroad for such treatments are inadvertent in the future. Hence, the need to get equiped against such occurrences.
“In some ways, we’ve been very happy with what we’ve seen so far. The Initiate projects we’ve built have been the cancer treatment centres in Lagos which in the last years have had more than 200,000 patients encounters and continuing and we’ve to expand because we’ve not been able to keep up with the demand.
“Also the Lagos centre is operating on the mantra of high quality service delivery at a reasonable price. To that extent from what we’ve seen, we’ve been able to deliver the cost of this service at about less than 20 percent to what you will get elsewhere and we’ve been able to run it on a sustainable manner.
“It is really important that after two or three years of experience, you’re are now feeling confidence to expand the footprints across the country, and also expand the areas of therapy. So it’s gone beyond cancer and diagnostics to cardio for cardio-health and we’re also looking at renal treatment which is kidney treatment and other demand treatments.
“It is really important that after two or three years of experience, you’re are now feeling confidence to expand the footprints across the country, and also expand the areas of therapy. So it’s gone beyond cancer and diagnostics to cardio for cardio-health and we’re also looking at renal treatment which is kidney treatment and other demand treatments,” Orji said
On critical investments to make these projects realizable, Orji gave a breakdown of the amount needed to bring each of the centre to fully operational.
He said, “The diagnostic centres including the radiology requires about $5 million each while the cancer centres are somewhere between $12 million to $20million depending on the level of infrastructure on the ground that we meet.
“So each of these will be access, then the investment is made and also we provide substantial working capital because we realize that what makes some of these centres not to succeed is not having enough working capital to keep it going. Don’t forget also that we are hiring our own doctors, encologists, therapists working along with the partners we are working with.
“For this stage of expansion, we are budgeting a $100 million dollars. The centres are designed to generate revenue so once you make the right investments, provide working capital and help them jump-start, it starts running ad a business so they provide there own revenue. We’ve signed 8 today and we’ll be signing another eight soon,”Orji revealed.
He hinted that the NSIA has not lost any medical personel to the massive brain drain experienced in the health sector.
“We have made the right investments. We’ve brought equipment, we’ve provided the right training. We’ve not lost anyone to brain drain. Our doctors and therapists have stayed. The NSIA run these things with the private sector philosophy,” he said.
He said the Management team is a home grown operating and management team. He further stated that the NSIA had tried the module of outsourcing the management team to a foreign operative but it didn’t work so well and where there is need for foreign expertise, they are brought in from outside the country.
According to him, the centres are expected to be up and running in the next year as the actual construction takes less time when compared to negotiation processes with State partners and the procurement procedure which is excessively tedious.