Healthcare: IFC, Gates Foundation to invest N9.5bn on Nigerians

Bill and Melinda Gates

The International Finance Corporation, IFC, is investing $60 million to increase coverage of priority health technologies and interventions among Nigeria’s poor under the African Health Markets for Equity, AHME, project.

IFC, which is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is partnering with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, DFID.

AHME is building on the best practices of what works within the country by relying on its strong network of partners in Nigeria.

The partners in the country include Society for Family Health, Marie Stopes Nigeria, Grameen Foundation, Safe Care, Population Services International with Pharmaccess and IFC giving technical support.

According to a statement by the World Bank Country Office in Nigeria yesterday, operating in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana, AHME, which is a fiveyear investment, will increase the scale and scope of franchised healthcare, expanding from family planning and sexual and reproductive health to also address malaria, acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, nutrition, maternal care, HIV and Tuberculosis.

Specifically, the investment is targeted at strengthening healthcare providers, (hospitals, clinics, pharmacies) within Nigeria where currently over 60 per cent of the health is provided by private providers.

Speaking on the initiative, Lead Health Sector Specialist, World Bank, Khama Rogo, noted that there was a “big health market in Nigeria that is untapped, leveraging on this through private providers would improve access to the poor”.

Rogo added that if Nigerians had health specialists all over the world and that if these needed facilities were here, there was nothing stopping them from coming to be of service to the country.

He said: “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 healthcare delivery.”

The AHME 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.

There will also be infrastructural investments into health facilities to upgrade them and support staff strength and resources enabled by simultaneous and coordinated work in policy, ICT, quality improvement, demand side financing (innovative ways to address challenges with affording healthcare), and healthcare provider access to capital.

It is expected that by the fifth year of the programme at least 300 health facilities would have benefitted from this support within the rural communities and the processes and skills imparted within these facilities transferred to other facilities within the social franchise network

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