By Bolaji Babatunde

As part of their commitment to empowering businesses and support the growth of economies, Nigeria’s premier Merchant bank, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, hosted key healthcare stakeholders for a morning of Insightful conversations around the urgency of healthcare financing in Nigeria, and the importance of digitisation in supporting industry operations.

Speaking at the event tagged: “Financing healthcare in Nigeria”, Managing Director of FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, Mrs Bukola Smith said the bank’s array of financial solutions could boost revenue and promote financing in the healthcare sector.

The event hosted dignitaries and special guests like the Hon Commissioner for Health, Lagos state Prof Akin Abayomi, Mrs. Fola Laoye, Founder Iwosan Investments Limited, Prof Emmanuel Jeje, Medical Director Marigold Hospital, Mrs. Clare Omatseye, Managing Director JNC International, Dr. Biodun Aluko, Medical Director Premier Specialist Hospital, and other top professionals in the health ecosystem.

Speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that the government of Lagos will continue to drive policies to make healthcare and health insurance more accessible and favourable to citizens.

While addressing how the bank will impact health businesses and grow the economy, the Group Head of Corporate Banking & Branches, Stella-Marie Omogbai said “FSDH identified the healthcare industry as an area of interest, and we put together a team of doctors and professionals who understand the business of healthcare finance. We set up a health desk manned by some of the most experienced doctors and practitioners and since then, we have gone ahead to finance healthcare projects, support several hospitals, HMOs as well as partnerships with the private and public sectors including the Lagos State Government”

Omogbai who gave an overview of the global healthcare industry remarked that “Healthcare in most of Sub-Sahara Africa remains the worst in the world. Despite decades of foreign assistance, few countries in the region are able to spend even the $34-$40 per person specified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for basic health care.”

According to her, studies conducted by International Finance Corporation (IFC) with the assistance of McKinsey & Company estimate that over this decade, $25-$30 billion in new investment is needed in healthcare assets, including hospitals, clinics and health distribution services to meet the growing health care demands.

In her keynote address, Mrs. Fola Laoye, Co-Founder & CEO, Iwosan Investments noted that banks need to play a key role as industry catalysts by providing financing and understanding how MSME financing could be applied to the healthcare sector.

She also recommended mergers and acquisitions and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) financing to help create business partnerships and market consolidation that will deliver economies of scale, equipment financing and technical assistance to support healthcare clients to address their bankability factors and key issues of interest rates and FX availability.

In his presentation on the importance of digitisation in the health sector, Dr Neto Ikpeme CEO of Wella Health Technologies touched on the adoption of technology for healthcare professionals in driving efficiency. He also said that this adoption would save time and help businesses provide better services.

Furthermore, the event hosted an interactive panel session leveraging the expertise of key players like Dare Odumade, CEO Chekitt Technologies, Dr Neto Ikpeme, CEO Wella Health, Mr. Bolaji Odunsi, Chairman Marcelle Ruth Cancer Centre and Dr Pamela Ajayi, President Health Federation of Nigeria to discuss the endless opportunities of emerging trends in the sector, health insurance and how businesses can access adequate funding.

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