How 122 pharmaceutical, hospital projects received N115bn CBN intervention   | Dailytrust

How 122 pharmaceutical, hospital projects received N115bn CBN intervention  

Marcelle Ruth Cancer-Centre Specialist Hospital, MRCC
Marcelle Ruth Cancer-Centre Specialist Hospital, MRCC

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented social and economic consequences across the world. The rapid spread of COVID coupled with drastic measures taken by fiscal and monetary authorities to stabilize their respective economies has certainly changed the world as we know it.

In Nigeria, its impact was evident through several channels. First, the virus constituted a challenge to public health given its contagious nature, and measures had to be taken to contain the spread of the virus. These included social distancing and movement restrictions, while efforts were taken to build the capacity of our health care institutions to respond adequately to the virus.

Riding on the back of the reality that beholds the nation, the CBN announced the creation of a N100 billion intervention fund in loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners intending to expand and strengthen the capacity of our healthcare institutions.

Not long after the Governor of the Central bank, Godwin Emefiele said to further drive the recovery of our economy, the monetary policy recognised that while the interventions in our manufacturing sector is essential; it is also essential that we continue to support the medical sector.

“When we started COVID, CBN set aside N100 billion to support the healthcare sector.

“But upon the rise in demand, the CBN had taken up N100 billion to support healthcare but the monetary policy committee has said they should move it further up to N200 billion.

“We would continue to do whatever can be done to support healthcare,” he said.

He also urged more private sector operators to invest in medical facilities that would help reverse medical tourism citing that medical tourism is a headache for Nigeria’s foreign reserves; and highlighting that for every 1 billion dollars allocated to medical treatment abroad, there was less than 1 billion dollars that could be available to other critical sectors of the economy.

The most recent statistics made available by Emeiele at the launch of the 100 for 100 initiatives, indicates that In healthcare, 122 major healthcare projects have been funded to the tune of N115.36 billion.

He said: ‘These healthcare interventions went to 31 pharmaceutical and 91 hospital projects. 

“This intervention helped to support the acquisition of 59 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, 42 Computer Tomography (CT) scanners, and 4 Oncology screening machines.”

 The progressive initiative has been leveraged by many forward-thinking entrepreneurs’, to deliver facilities across the healthcare value chains in the country – one of which is the world-class cancer centre known as Marcelle Ruth Cancer Center (MRCC) and Specialist Hospital.

Duchess Hospital

 

Arguably, the first of its kind in Nigeria and sub-Sahara Africa and fully equipped with up-to-date, end-to-end one-stop facilities that compete favourably with those in developed countries.

The centre houses an imaging centre with CT; mammogram; ultrasound; X-Ray machines; modern laboratory services; two operating theatres; an eight-bed chemotherapy suite; a radiotherapy centre with a linear accelerator and brachytherapy, fifteen private en-suite rooms for in-patients; pharmacy and counselling service.

It is expected that as a result of this development, Nigerians will no longer have reasons to travel out of the country to seek medical attention and care, especially on cancer-related and other special health issues.

The visioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Modupe Elebute-Odunsi said: “the Marcelle Ruth Visioner found a willing and committed partner in Polaris Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading banks.

“The Bank believed in the vision and leveraging the CBN Health sector loan, partly financed the procurement of medical equipment- radiotherapy equipment and accessories for the Specialist Cancer Centre.”

It is also believed that the formal launch and opening of Marcelle Ruth Cancer Centre and Specialist Hospital boosted efforts to reverse medical tourism in Nigeria, while also shoring up the nation’s foreign exchange capital base.

Similarly,  the apex bank, in collaboration with Access Bank Plc and Bank of Industry (BoI), supported the Chairman of Reddington Hospital Group, Dr Adeyemi Onabowale, with a  credit facility of N6.5billion to set up Duchess International Hospital in Lagos.

The  CEO of the new hospital, Dr Adetokunbo Shitta-Bey, said the healthcare industry in Nigeria is worth N6.5 trillion, out of which N600 billion is expended by Nigerians in search of solutions for Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), cancer and other minor sicknesses abroad.

According to the CBN governor, part of the reasons often cited by those who travel for medical care abroad is inadequate healthcare services and obsolete medical devices.

He said: “Medical tourism is rising demand. As of now, medical tourism constitutes a huge drain on our foreign reserves. For a country of 210 million people, projected to be about 450 million people in 2050, we can no longer afford to do anything even amid the repeated warnings of the dangers that lie ahead if we do not begin to depend largely on ourselves for our nutritional, medical and educational needs.

“The CBN cannot afford to sit idly by and concentrate on its core mandate of rate stability. Additional measures are required to identify broad sectors of our economy and channel credit to these sectors while imposing proper monitoring and performance measures.

“The CBN, working with Access Bank and Bank of Industry, supported Dr Yemi Onabowale, with a loan of N6.5 billion to set up this magnificent state-of-the-art facility which will help in providing Nigerians with high quality healthcare services that are comparable to what is being provided anywhere else in the world.”

Vice President Osinbajo in his speech said the only solution to stop doctors migrating is to reward hard work even as he declared that the 100-suits state-of-the-art health facility has the capacity and all it takes to reverse medical tourism in Nigeria.

He said: “The only way to ensure that Nigerian doctors practise medicine in Nigeria is to reward hard work which the Reddington Hospital Group is known for.”

According to him, the opening of the new hospital is a cause for celebration firstly because it shows that “ we have all it takes to become the place of choice for even medical tourists from developed countries looking to jump long queues for specialised procedures at home or simply shopping for more affordable fees for first-class healthcare.”

“Secondly, we have by far the largest number of middle- to low-income communities and individuals in sub–Saharan Africa who require affordable, high-quality healthcare.”

He added that Nigeria is not just a country that has world-class talent, world-class ideas and world-class execution of ideas, with more investments in its health sector, it will also make the country a destination of choice for medical tourists even from developed countries.

The Vice President noted that the establishment of such facilities would not only further provide more Nigerians with excellent healthcare solutions, but it would also open more opportunities to the country’s high-quality medical personnel.

“With investments like this seeking high-quality medical personnel, we can even reverse the trend of doctors voting with their feet. The reasons for voting with their feet are obvious: better remuneration, better facilities.”

Speaking on the health care intervention, Chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Dr Fidelis Ayebae said: “Every company that met the loan requirement got it. We are happy with the CBN for the initiative and the way it was implemented.

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