Despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s constant foreign trips for medical care, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has urged the private sector and other investors to explore opportunities in the nation’s health sector.
She made the call in order to make health care services affordable within the country and discourage medical tourism.
Ahmed explained that the sector should be the focus of wealthy individuals, who are looking to invest their corporate social responsibility (CSR). She assured that such a move would make quality and affordable services available to millions of Nigerians, who can’t access high standard medical care.
She made the suggestion while inaugurating a cancer centre built by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). The centre was built in partnership with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) but is on public-private partnership (PPP) model.
A South African company, Healthshare, with its 150 years of experience of general management in the healthcare industry, would operate the centre. According to Ahmed, the investment made on the equipment at the cancer centre would avert capital flight and foreign exchange (forex) spent for medical tourism yearly; 80 patients were being treated at the centre daily, and foreigners are expected to be among the centre’s patients.
While speaking about the essence of the investment, Ahmed said the centre also promises a high return on investment, as NSIA intends to hand over the centre to LASUTH once its investment on the project is recovered.
She added that “The cancer centre is built to enable patients to obtain the precise treatment they received abroad and would also minimise the need for medical tourism.
“It is a beneficial investment which is safe and sustainable. It provides not only adequate returns for the investment but also give them an opportunity to provide social support for people who cannot afford to pay for the treatment.
“The PPP is executed as a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and it is designed for the investors to recover their resources from an investment over a period of time and subsequently the centre will revert to LUTH after 10 years of operations. I, therefore, urge individuals as well as corporate sectors to consider channelling some of their corporate social responsibilities (CSR) to project like this especially to help people that cannot afford to pay for the services.”
Leading by example to spur investors: While Ahmed wants the private sector and other investors to invest in the health sector, the government will have to lead by example, as President Buhari is known for his medical tourism. This makes the President one of the notable names that encourage capital flight or waste foreign exchange on medical tourism.
If the president continues to seek medical care abroad, it is a sign that the government doesn’t have confidence in Nigeria’s health care system, thereby discouraging investors from seeing the revenue potential in the health care market.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 19th of September 2020, 189 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 57,145 confirmed cases.
On the 19th of September 2020, 189 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.
To date, 57,145 cases have been confirmed, 48,431 cases have been discharged and 1095 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321 tests have been carried out as of September 19th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 19th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 57,145
- Total Number Discharged – 48,431
- Total Deaths – 1,095
- Total Tests Carried out – 482,321
According to the NCDC, the 189 new cases were reported from 15 states- Lagos (70), Plateau (37), FCT (24), Kaduna (19), Rivers (12), Oyo (5), Ogun (4), Ebonyi (3), Katsina (3), Ondo (3), Osun (3), Imo (2), Yobe (2), Ekiti (1), Nasarawa (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,897, followed by Abuja (5,550), Oyo (3,231), Plateau (3,229), Edo (2,611), Kaduna (2,345), Rivers (2,232), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,762), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,597), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,013), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Osun (813), Gombe (799), Borno (741), and Bauchi (689).
Imo State has recorded 559 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (448), Bayelsa (394), Jigawa (322), Ekiti (314), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (250), Anambra (232), Adamawa (230), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Just in: Lagos allows cinemas, gyms, others to reopen
In a new development, Lagos government has approved the reopening of gyms, cinemas, others.
The Lagos State Government has announced the reopening of cinemas, gyms, and other recreational centres in the state.
According to a monitored media report, the disclosure was made by the Lagos State Government, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during a press briefing at the Statehouse, Marina on Saturday, September 19, 2020.
The governor said, they are however expected to operate at just 33% of their capacity, which is a third of their capacity, and must comply with all safety measures.
He, however, said that other sectors of the economy such as bars, night clubs, spas, public parks, event centres, and such others are to remain closed until October when the state government will make pronouncement concerning their reopening.
The Governor said, “Henceforth, cinemas and gyms are permitted to reopen as soon as possible, with a maximum of 33% occupancy, which means that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats; and in the case of gyms, there must be constant disinfection of machines and equipment throughout the course of the day.’’
Sanwo-Olu said that it has become inevitable for Nigerians to apply caution as some other parts of the world have witnessed a resurgence of the coronavirus disease with a possibility of further lockdowns.
He warned, “Let me make it clear that if we do not continue to maintain our guard, and sustain the adherence to all required protocols and guidelines, we will find ourselves in a situation where fresh lockdowns are inevitable. The only way to avoid this is to continue to act responsibly: maintain the required levels of hygiene, through regular handwashing and use of sanitizers, wear masks in all public places, avoid non-essential public gatherings, and maintain the prescribed levels of physical distancing at all times”
Just in: Lagos approves resumption of full services for churches, mosques
Resumption of full services in churches and mosques has been approved by the Lagos State Government.
The Lagos State Government has announced the approval of churches and mosques to resume full services in the state. This disclosure was made by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during a press briefing on Saturday, September 19, 2020, in Lagos.
According to a monitored media report, the government said mosques can hold their prayers 5 times daily, while churches can also resume weekly services. This is against the initial announcement, where worship centres were restricted to just one gathering weekly, after they were allowed to reopen on August 7, 2020, following the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Sanwo-Olu, however, warned that all safety protocols that had been announced by the government must be strictly adhered to.