A Licenced Pharmacist, Mr Akinjide Adeosun, says there is urgent need for the Federal Government to establish a bank with focus on attending to the demands of the nation’s health sector.
Adeosun, also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, ST. RACHEAL’S Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Ltd., Lagos, made the call in Lagos on Friday where he said Nigeria depends greatly on imported drugs.
Adeosun said, “Currently, almost 70 per cent of the drugs we use in Nigeria are imported and 30 per cent locally manufactured. – So, if we have a specific industry for healthcare, it means that in a middle term, we can reverse the trends”.
“If you look at these areas, in terms of funding the hospitals, funding the pharmaceutical industry and equally making money accessible for patients for their medical insurance, I believe it is a right way to go.
“I appeal to the Federal Government to urgently set up a bank in 2020 that will take care of the health needs of the country,’’ Adeosun said.
Adeosun said people who are not healthy cannot be productive, he said Nigeria “needs to move away from a consuming nation to a productive nation”.
“It means that we will need to set up pharmaceutical industries; we need to have more hospitals; we need to have massive investment in the healthcare across the value chain of the health industry.
“From my experience of what is happening in Nigeria, there is no focus from any of the existing banks, the traditional finance institutions, supporting massively the SMEs in the healthcare sector.”
Adeosun said that conventional banks do not focus on retail pharmacies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, rather there is more focus on supporting the fashion industry, movie industries, agriculture and others.
According to him, it is fine to focus on these other areas, but my own recommendation is that, government should create a sort of shift by setting up a specific bank for healthcare industry.
“What this will do will be in multiple folds.
“It means that the healthcare needs of the country can be easily improved.
“It means that the health insurance scheme that is about five per cent nationally can be improved, if finance is available for people.
“It will just be like borrowing money from the bank to finance one’s healthcare insurance, paid over a period of time and not use resources meant for other necessity to pay for healthcare insurance.
“If you know there is opportunity to borrow money from the healthcare bank and you pay back over a period of time for financing health, it means that rapidly, the five per cent insurance scheme can be moved to 10 per cent or above.
“Also, there will be opportunity for the hospitals to buy equipment for patients, which means that if you have all these equipment in hospitals around the country, one will save a lot of money from medical tourism.
“The bank will also have low interest rate for hospitals to buy equipment that we can use in our hospitals for patients and people to go to, thereby curbing medical tourism.’’
The pharmacist explained that with this bank in place to fund the pharmaceutical industry, it means that we would begin to produce our drugs locally.