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The Drive to Strengthen Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria—What it Means for Women and Children

By: The Tony Elumelu Foundation

This blog is published in collaboration with a larger campaign spearheaded by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and conducted by Heads of State and Government; Heads of U.N. Agencies; CEO’s; Leaders of Civil Society Organizations; and other global leaders who have demonstrated their leadership in the health field, in support of Every Woman Every Child. Learn more at www.everywomaneverychild.org.

As world leaders focus on advancing efforts to save 16 million women and Children by 2015, The Tony Elumelu Foundation joins the “big push” on the  ‘Every Woman, Every Child’ campaign. Nigeria is working towards addressing the availability of quality healthcare delivery which is currently challenged by poor infrastructure and affects all, especially the most vulnerable in our society—a position mostly occupied by women and children. Children within the ages of 0 to 14 account for 41% of Nigeria’s population, with 51:49 percent men to women ratio for a population of 168 million people.

In an effort to improve healthcare availability at the tertiary level, Nigeria’s Minister for Health, Dr. Onyebuchi Chukwu, inaugurated a ministerial committee, which incidentally is chaired our Founder Tony O. Elumelu, C.O.N., to unlock the private sector’s investment into healthcare delivery. The goal of the Committee is to enhance the investment of the private sector in order to establish six international-standard hospitals and diagnostic centres in Nigeria by 2015. The Committee comprises of entrepreneurs, financiers, medical practitioners, pharmaceutical industry leaders, laboratory diagnostic providers, and public officials from critical government Ministries joining forces to ensure timely achievement of the mandate.

To develop these hospitals and health centres, the committee is looking to transform the entire healthcare system, since long-term sustainability of quality healthcare in the country requires holistic considerations of the demand for and supply of healthcare delivery. While the government will continue to play an active role in determining Nigeria’s health care delivery strategy on the primary, secondary, and tertiary level, this committee seeks to explore essential requirements of attracting and sustaining appropriate private sector investment.

The timing of the committee’s formation and inauguration comes at a period when Nigeria takes a critical look at the essential pillars for maintaining a robust health sector, and making necessary changes. The first step is modifying the health insurance laws. Hosted by the leadership of the House of Representatives Committee on Health, Tony O. Elumelu, the Chairman of the ministerial committee made the presentation during a public hearing on the national health insurance scheme on essential modifications required to transform health insurance provision.

For the most vulnerable in society, having health insurance cushions the shocks that an unexpected health expense can generate. Yet only 5.3 million Nigerians currently participate in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Most who have insurance are members of the formal sector, leaving those in the informal sector and the poor (demographics which women and children are over-represented) vastly under-served. Nigeria’s insurance landscape is on the road to fundamental change; which is a welcome development to many.

By participating on the Ministerial Committee on Unlocking Private Sector Investment in Healthcare, the Tony Elumelu Foundation joins the 260 partners, including 70 governments, in our commitment to advance the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health in support of ‘Every Woman, Every Child’.

About The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF)

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is an African based and funded not-for-profit institution, dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. As a 21st century catalytic philanthropy, the Foundation is committed to driving the continent’s economic growth from within by proving the African private sector can itself be the primary generator of economic development.

Founded in 2010 by Tony O. Elumelu, C.O.N., the Foundation identifies and grooms business students, young entrepreneurs and CEOs of African corporations at various stages of their development. It seeks to use African capital and leadership to create a pipeline of entrepreneurs, while also supporting imaginative business leaders whose ideas can create sustainable employment and foster regional partnerships. For more information, visit tonyelumelufoundation.org, follow us on Twitter @TE_foundation, and at Facebook at facebook.com/thetonyelumelufoundation.

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