Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Bill Gates to invest $60m in Nigeria’s Health Sector

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development are partnering with the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, to invest $60 million to improve health in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the World Bank, the investment will cover priority health technologies and interventions among Nigeria’s poor under the African Health Markets for Equity project.

The fund will be disbursed through the AHME partners in Nigeria, including the Society for Family Health, Marie Stopes Nigeria, Grameen Foundation, Safe Care, Population Services International while the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group will give technical support.

The statement from the World Bank said in part: “Operating in Nigeria and two other African countries: Kenya and Ghana, the African Health Markets for Equity, which is a five-year investment, will increase the scale and scope of franchised health care, expanding from family planning and sexual and reproductive health to also address malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, nutrition, maternal care, HIV and Tuberculosis.

“Within Nigeria, this investment is targeted at strengthening health care providers (hospitals, clinics, pharmacies). Currently, over 60% of the health care in Nigeria is provided by private providers.”

Khama Rogo, Lead Health Sector Specialist at the World Bank, had this to say: “There is a big health market in Nigeria that is untapped, leveraging on this through private providers would improve access to the poor.

“Nigerians have health specialists all over the world. If these needed facilities are here, there is nothing stopping them from coming to be of service here. “This project aims to impact at least one million people within Nigeria living below the poverty line in the rural areas by directly targeting these interventions at them and strengthening the health facilities within the social franchise networks.

“Practically speaking, one million people over the next five years will have a chance to overcome the barrier of being denied healthcare due to paying for it at the point of health care delivery.” The World Bank hopes that by the fifth year of the programme, at least 300 health facilities would have benefitted from the support within the rural communities..

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