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Minister urges more private sector investment in healthcare infrastructure

By Charles Ozioma
25 November 2021   |   4:04 am
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has called for more private sector investment in Nigeria’s healthcare system.

•LUTH maximising potency of CSR to refurbish, upgrade public hospitals as govt finances become scarce

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has called for more private sector investment in Nigeria’s healthcare system.

This came as Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, is maximising the potency of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by refurbishing and upgrading public hospitals as government finances become scarce.

Ehanire, at the commissioning of the Airtel-LUTH project, said LUTH is leading with good examples: Cancer Centre, Olusola Dada Dialysis Centre and now Main Ward by Airtel.

Ehanire said: “In no country can government alone fund healthcare and it is in that regard that we must urge more private sector investment in the Nigerian healthcare sector. With such investment and skilled and dedicated manpower, the sky is the limit on our quest to improve the quality of healthcare in Nigeria.”

Ehanire said the commissioning of Airtel LUTH project tallies with the President’s Next Level modernisation agenda for Teaching Hospitals, to improve quality of care for Nigerians.

“Since the beginning of this administration, much investment has gone into our tertiary level centres, including LUTH, directly or in partnership,” he said.

Ehanire noted: “As endowed as LUTH presently seems, there is room for value addition as Corporate Social Responsibility or investments that upgrade existing facilities, bridge infrastructure gaps and introduce cutting edge equipment and technology.

“I invite national and multinationals investors to examine the opportunities in Nigerian healthcare, to find areas that promise handsome returns, and I call on the management and staff of the hospital to put this ward to good use and keep it well maintained to justify the generosity of Airtel to LUTH. I, once again, thank the donor for this laudable project.”

Chief Medical Director (CMD), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Prof. Chris Bode, said government alone is unable to fund the healthcare sector. Bode said, “I hope others shall join this trend pioneered by the likes of Airtel Nigeria. Airtel has won the right to boldly brand Block A in colour red. We look forward to seeing colours such as yellow, green, other hues and shades splashed on our buildings soon! The lives saved here by this noble deed may be our own.”

Bode, who is also a consultant paediatric surgeon, continued: “Since the bronze plaque was unveiled, 59 years ago, at the inception of this institution, our facilities have been in use every day without respite. In recent years, all our wards became run down and we had barely rehabilitated Block B, two years ago, when we had to surrender it for use as COVID-19 isolation centre, 18 months ago. In fact, LUTH admitted and treated over 1,000 COVID patients, many with several life-threatening co-morbidities and Airtel has worked every step of the COVID-19 journey with us”

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of Airtel Nigeria, C. Surendran, assured Nigerians that the facility will further smoothen the delivery of healthcare services in Nigeria and help foster healthcare inclusion, especially among those who are in the lower rungs of society.

The CEO also said the ward that was renovated and equipped with connectivity technologies and solutions was commissioned 58 years ago under the directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria and without a doubt, “today marks a momentous occasion in the hospital’s history.”