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Dangote, Ovia, others to grace Health Initiative launch

By The Citizen


A coalition led by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Jim Ovia, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, Mrs. Sola David- Borha and others will Tuesday launch the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN). This is part of initiative to accelerate Nigeria's progress in achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and beyond,

The board has appointed Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq as the Executive Director (ED)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PHN.

Co-chair of the PHN, Ovia, in a statement Sunday stated that the launch of the PHN would provide a platform to share the vision of the alliance and called on private sector leaders to join the initiative towards improving healthcare delivery for lasting impact.

According to him, the decision to establish a health alliance was informed by Mr. Bill Gates in 2010 during a high level private sector roundtable for health with business leaders that focused on harnessing the private sector's collective capabilities in accelerating improvement in health outcomes in Nigeria. This has since evolved into a country-owned private sector-led multi-sectoral coalition for improving health outcomes through innovation, strategic partnerships and impact investments.

However, observers said yesterday that the business moguls should pool resources to establish world-class hospitals in Nigeria, facilitate the workings of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Community Health Insurance Schemes (CHISs) and final passage by the National Assembly and signing into law of the National Health Bill.

The Federal Government had under the leadership of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo spent over N27 billion on the rehabilitation and refurbishment of 14 teaching hospitals spread across the six geo-political zones into state-of-the-art centres of medical excellence that would discourage Nigerians from going abroad for medical treatment and stop braindrain.

Vamed Engineering Nigeria Limited was contracted by the Federal Government to refurbish 14 teaching hospitals within Nigeria over a period of five years. The core clinical areas to be refurbished include radiology (diagnostics and therapeutic), surgery (theatres), intensive care, the laboratories, accident and emergency and special clinical departments.

So far, the centres in the following teaching hospitals have been commissioned: Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria (November 2005); University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan (December 2005); University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Port Harcourt (October 2006); University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), Maiduguri (February 2007); University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu (April 2007); Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Lagos (May 2007); University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Ilorin (May 2007); Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Jos (May 2007); University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin (July 2007); Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH), Sokoto (July 2008); Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ile Ife (November 2009); Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi (May 2011); and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Calabar (October 2012).


Under the scheme, the government is giving the private sector the nod to mobilise resources to set up and manage the facilities in a selected state in each of the six zones. The committee is headed by former United Bank for Africa (UBA) Chief Executive, Tony Elumelu, representatives of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) and other members from the sector in Nigeria.

The projects are part of government's renewed attempt to bring affordable health services to Nigeria and check the exodus of the citizens abroad for medical tourism.

The panel will also draw up an implementable plan for President Goodluck Jonathan's vision of setting up at least one world-class private hospital in each of the zones before the end of his tenure in 2015. They are also to identify and engage potential investors with a view to guiding them to develop business models and plans for the setting up of world-class hospitals in the country.

The team will also look into and propose an accreditation scheme that will ensure full compliance with global best practices in the operations of the proposed facilities. The plan has drawn intense applause from some stakeholders. Some stakeholders are also calling for caution.