In the press - The Nigerian Guardian, 7 June 2007
Nigerian, Dutch firms upgrade facilities in Lagos, Kwara
By Chukwuma Muanya
The Nigerian Guardian, June 7, 2007
HYGEIA Nigeria Limited, which in collaboration with PharmAccess International, a Dutch firm, had packaged a community health insurance scheme for 13 pilot hospitals in Nigeria, has begun the upgrading of the infrastructure in these health institutions.
The upgrading process, which comprises the provision of equipment, staff training, renovation of existing structures, as well as overall maintenance support, began on June 1, and will be completed in two weeks time.
The pilot hospitals are located in communities in Lagos and Kwara states, and in line with this scheme, the two organisations have already delivered the first set of medical equipment to the benefitting health institutions.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Chief Operating Officer of Hygiea, Mrs. Njideka Ndili, during the presentation of the equipment to the Medical Director of Orile Agege General Hospital, Dr. Segun Oshinyimika.
The collaborating Dutch firm is reputed to have extensive experience in the supervision of health insurance schemes, with support from that country's health insurance fund.
Ndili said: "The pilot scheme is aimed at providing health insurance for some market women communities and lady mechanics in Lagos State, as well as the farming communities around TShonga, Kwara State.
According to her, under the programme, no fewer than 115,000 people will have access to good quality basic healthcare in these communities at subsidised premium rates ranging from N200 to N800 per person per year.
"This care is provided by designated private and public hospitals and clinics in areas near the targeted communities," Mrs Ndili explained, adding that members of these communities would be able to enjoy these low premiums because of the Dutch Health Insurance Fund's subsidy.
The hospitals in Lagos and Kwara states, which benefited from this arrangement are Orile-Agege General Hospital, Iju; Osuntuyi Medical Centre, Iju-Ishaga; Surulere General Hospital, Heals Specialist Clinic, Isolo and May Clinic, Ilasamaja.
Others are Crystal Specialist Hospital, Akowonjo; Topaz Clinic and Maternity, Surulere; R-Jolad Hospital, Bariga and Lagoon Clinic, Victoria Island.
Also in the network are Salvation Army Clinic, Lagos Island; Ogo-Oluwa Hospital, Bacita; Resource Access Centre, Bacita and Ola-Olu Hospital, in Ilorin.
The equipment supplied comprise hardware such as operating theatre tables, labour ward beds, patient monitors, ECG machines, wheelchairs, ultrasound machines as well as consumables.
And to ensure that the equipment are effectively used, Hygeia will continue to assist with training on their use besides the provision of providing maintenance support.
Ndili further stated: "Our focus is the improvement of the health of these communities, and to ensure this, as well as providing access to health care, the HCHP is keen to do all it can to augment the quality of care received.
"That's why we are investing in putting new equipment into the hospitals where the communities will be treated. And the selected hospitals are close enough to the communities in each State."
She added: "We are also renovating the facilities and providing training to various administrative and medical personnel within these facilities. At the end of the day, the communities enjoy the fruit of this investment, get healthier, grow economically and the country, as a whole benefits."
The HIF is the first international fund of its type, which is now focusing on providing subsidies for community health insurance schemes in Africa.
It has selected Nigeria as the first country for implementation. The key overall objective of the scheme is to increase access to quality basic healthcare for currently uninsured groups, using a public-private partnership model.
The grant for Nigeria is for an initial five-year period.