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Robotic Surgery possibility in Nigeria

Surgeries are more reliable when performed with these technologies, as these robots are designed to analyze pre-operation data from medical records of the patient to guide the instruments of the surgeons during operation.

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Life has evolved from the old ways of performing things to more modern, fascinating and effective methods. Healthcare is not immune to this trend. In ancient times, surgery was more often than not considered a death sentence. This was largely due to the crude tools that were used, the lack of antibiotics and antiseptics to sterilize and anaesthetics to sedate or knock out the patient.

Patients had to undergo surgery completely conscious and endure excruciating pain. Many patients will later die of infections and complications. Nowadays, surgeries are performed with the patient casually conversing with the surgeon about football teams or favourite soap operas or musical groups and chances of success are much higher than before. In fact, people can opt for surgery where there is no immediate need (such as appendectomies).

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An evolving trend in healthcare is integrating advanced technology with surgical practices. Many developed countries are towing this path. Artificial Intelligence is one of these advancements, has increased precision in surgical procedures through the use of robotic systems. Surgeries are more reliable when performed with these technologies. Some of these robots are designed to analyze pre-operation data from medical records of the patient to guide the instruments of the surgeons during operation.

READ ALSO: Meet Silas Adekunle, the highest paid robotic engineer in the world

Robots are used to perform minimally invasive surgery, giving more precision and lesser complications. They are used in procedures which require delicate and intricate movements of the surgeons. Arguably, the most advanced surgery robot of the modern-day is the da Vinci System, a one-of-a-kind robotic system manufactured by Intuitive Surgical company of Silicon Valley and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States in the year 2000. Touted as a breakthrough in minimally invasive surgery, the robot bears multiple advantages when used in the operating room.

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How far are we from Robotic Surgeries in Nigeria?
Currently, no surgical robot is being implemented today in Nigeria. There is also no documented use of any of the past utilized surgical robot in the history of Nigerian medicine. On the other hand, South Africa has used the da Vinci system for surgeries since its first use in 2015. In fact, there are five of these robots currently used in South Africa.
Nigerian healthcare is already fraught with so many problems that the introduction of robots for surgical practice looks like a tall dream for the country. Some of which include:

  • Poor budgeting to public health by the Nigerian government. Due to this, many medical facilities are in poor condition and have severely deteriorated as such the healthcare provided is completely substandard. Despite the availability of medical specialists within the country, poor quality materials and medical facilities are being managed by the specialists, not contributing enough to medical treatment.
  • National budgeting is required to repair and replace these infrastructures and provide new ones in places that lack them and so it cannot be diverted to providing these robots as they tend towards expensive. The da Vinci system costs $2 million dollars (about ₦720 million) as of today, which the Nigerian budget cannot manage right now with more immediate concerns to cover.
  • A growing population- more and more people will require medical services, and in many hospitals, there is not enough space to accommodate patients in need of hospitalization, or doctors to tend to these numbers. As a result, a large number of patients usually remain on waitlists for surgeries, even those that require immediate attention.
  • No maintenance culture- new innovative technology may not last very long in Nigerian hospitals as proper maintenance will not be given to them. Monetary problems aside, maintenance and repairs are often skipped as the equipment are misused.
  • Training- even if these innovations can be acquired, specialists may need to be imported from overseas to train surgeons on how to use the robots. Sometimes, the surgeons may have to travel abroad for training themselves adding to costs incurred.
  • Power supply- unfortunately, Nigeria is a country where electricity supply is not stable. The fluctuation in power supply has hindered the effective use of machinery in various industries, including the health sector. Imagine a power outage when a patient is being administered oxygen therapy by an electrically powered device. In this case, a power outage during a surgical procedure involving robots can produce a magnitude of problems.
    Sadly, Nigeria is not ready for the advent of robotic surgery at the moment and will not be until the healthcare system is fixed and meets up with standards of the developed countries will take a significant period of time and commitment on the part of the Nigerian government to actualize.

Patricia

Jenrade is a Senior Marketing Analyst at NetPlusDotCom. NetPlusDotCom is a technology and digital payment company, with a mission to provide innovative payment digital solution. The company has a content partnership with Nairametrics. All articles written by Jenrade or NetPlusDotCom are their opinions and do not represent the opinions of Nairametrics.

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Business

Edo, Rivers, Ondo, Katsina, 17 others attract no investment in 4 months

Lagos topped the list of states that attracted investments during the period under consideration.

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Ekiti, Jigawa, Abia, 10 others record no investment in 2019

The effect of the Coronavirus pandemic, which led to an economic shutdown in some parts of Nigeria, is not only being felt by Nigerians. Instead, many of the 36 states in Nigeria are also feeling the impact.

Among the states that have been feeling the heat, before and during the pandemic (with no record of investment between January and April 2020), are Rivers, Ondo, Edo, Sokoto, Oyo, Abia, and Anambra states. Others are Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Kastina, Kogi, Kwara, Osun, Oyo, Yobe, and Nassarawa states.

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This information is contained in the Capital importation report obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The report also detailed the total amount of fresh investments attracted to the Nigerian economy during the period.

[READ MORE: States’ IGR hits N691 billion as Osun, others recorded biggest growth]

Note that most of the states that failed to attract investments during the period under review also failed to attract any investments in 2019. This means that it is either the necessary steps were not taken by the governments, or foreign investors could not find attraction in the states or the environments were simply not conducive for investment.

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Lagos outshines FCT, Niger, 5 other states

As expected, Lagos topped the list of states that attracted investments during the period under consideration. Lagos attracted the highest amount of $5.39 billion during the period. The investment inflow into the state represents over 87% of the $6.17 billion.

Lagos is followed by the Federal Capital Territory which attracted a total investment inflow of $754.01 million.

Niger State attracted a total investment inflow of $11.60 million. Sokoto State also attracted $2.50 million, while Kaduna State attracted the sum of $1.98 million and Ogun attracted $1.70 million.

Kano and Akwa Ibom states recorded investment inflow of about $700,000 and about $237,000 respectively among others.

The limited investment inflows into some of these states clearly indicate that the states are not really attractive to the investors, even before the pandemic. The Managing Partner, FA Consult, Peter Adebayo, explained that the nation’s economy is not attractive enough to pull investments to states that lack the desired viability.

“Most of the investors are scared of insurgencies in the country, though such is limited to some parts of the nation, except for the well-connected investors that are given special attention,” he said.

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Back story: Last March, Nairametrics reported that Ekiti, Kogi, Sokoto, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Gombe, Jigawa, Abia, and five other state governments failed to attract investments in 2019.

Patricia
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Business

FG reveals amount spent on school feeding program during lockdown, denies spending N13.5bn monthly

The FG said it had only spent about N523.3 million on the programme during the lockdown.

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Over 20% of N-Power beneficiaries are now business owners - FG

The Federal Government has denied some media reports that it spent the sum of N13.5 billion monthly on the homegrown school feeding programme across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja during the lockdown period when school children were at home.

The FG said it had only spent about N523.3 million on the school feeding programme during the lockdown.

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The disclosure was made by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, during the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, on Monday, August 3, in Abuja.

The minister said that there had been a lot of rumours and speculations about one of the key government interventions, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

She explained that the programme was modified and implemented in three states following a March 29th Presidential directive, while also stating that it was done in consultation with stakeholders.

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The minister said, “It is critical at this juncture to provide details that will help puncture the tissue of lies being peddled in the public space. The provision of ‘Take Home Rations’, under the modified Home Grown School Feeding programme, was not a sole initiative of the MHADMSD.

“The ministry, in obeying the Presidential directive, went into consultations with state governments through the state Governor’s Forum, following which it was resolved that ‘take-home rations’, remained the most viable option for feeding children during the lockdown. So, it was a joint resolution of the ministry and the state governments to give out take-home rations.

“The stakeholders also resolved that we would start with the FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, as pilot cases.”

Going further, she revealed that each take home ration was valued at N4,200 and that the figure was arrived at after proper consultation.

The minister said that the figure was generated from data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN).

She said, “According to statistics from the NBS and CBN, a typical household in Nigeria has 5 to 6 members in its household, with 3 to 4 dependents. So, each household is assumed to have three children.

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“Based on the original design of the Home Grown School Feeding programme, long before it was domiciled in the ministry, every child on the programme receives a meal a day. The meal costs N70 per child.

“When you take 20 school days per month, it means a child eats food worth N1,400 per month. Three children would then eat food worth N4,200 per month and that was how we arrived at the cost of the ‘take-home ration.”

The Minister said that it was agreed that the federal government would provide the funding, while the various state governments would handle the implementation. She said that in order to ensure a transparent process, the government had to partner with the World Food Programme (WFP) as technical partners.

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She also said that her ministry invited government agencies like the EFCC, CCB, ICPC, DSS and some NGOs to monitor the process, just as TrackaNG also monitoring and giving daily updates, thereby validating the programme.

Giving a further breakdown she disclosed that in the FCT, 29,609 households were impacted, 37,589 households in Lagos and 60,391 in Ogun, making a total of 124,589 households that benefited from the programme between May 14, and July 6.

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She said, if 124,589 households received take-home rations valued at N4,200, the amount would be N523,273,800.

A media report had suggested that the Federal Government claimed it was spending the sum of N679 million daily or N13.5 billion on the school feeding programme across the country even during the lockdown period when school children were at home.

Patricia
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Corporate deals

DEAL: Custodian Investment agrees to buy majority stake in UPDC

Custodian Investment announced on Monday to acquire a 51% stake in UPDC, a real estate company owned by UACN.

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Custodian Investment announced on Monday to acquire a 51% stake in UPDC, a real estate company owned by UACN. This is confirmed in a press release posted on the website of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

UACN announced plans to spin off its investment in UPDC in 2019 after multiple years of losses and value accretion threatening to undermine the going concern status of the parent. Last June, UPDC announced it has raised N16 billion from the right issue as it prepared for its unbundling.

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In separate press releases between Custodian and UACN, the duo agreed to a sale of 51% or 9, 465, 584, 668 ordinary shares of UPDC in a transaction that will occur in two phases.

Deal Details

  • An initial sale of 5.1% of UPDC will be sold to Custodian Investment
  • The second sale of 45.9% of UPDC will then be sold to Custodian Investment
  • The companies did not reveal timelines for the consummation of the deal
  • Due to this deal, UACN will stop its unbundling plans for UPDC
  • The deal is subject to regulatory approvals.
  • The purchase consideration was yet to be disclosed, however, UPDC has a market capitalization of N15 billion while Custodian has a Market Capitalization of N30 billion as at press time.

What they are saying

The CEO of Custodian, Wole Oshin and his counterpart in UACN, Folasope Aiyesimoju also commented on the transaction providing reasons for consummating the deal.

  • According to Wole Oshin of Custodian Investment, “The rationale for the Transaction is that Custodian and UAC share the view that their ambitions for capturing opportunity in the real estate industry will be better achieved working in partnership.”
  • Custodian also believes the transaction “will provide Custodian with a platform to capture arising real estate opportunities. It also immediately provides recurring cash flow visibility and attractive yields as a result of its direct exposure to Nigeria’s leading real estate investment trust (“UPDC REIT”) with a track record of profitability and annual dividend distribution which offers a good compliment for our product portfolio.”
  • According to Folasope Aiyesimoju, Group Managing Director of UAC, “UAC received a credible offer from Custodian. The terms of the offer compelled the Board to re-evaluate the planned approach to de-consolidate UPDC and influenced the Board’s decision to proceed with the sale of a portion of UAC’s interest in UPDC to Custodian, effectively putting an end to the UPDC Unbundling.”

What they stand to gain from this deal

The two companies also revealed what they stand to gain from this transaction. According to Custodian, it decided to acquire for the following reasons;

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  • The company claims it is attracted to the ‘recurring cashflow visibility from UPDC REIT citing the huge cash flow it hopes to enjoy from rental income
  • “The UPDC REIT is highly cash generative with recurring income streams. It has distributed an average of N1.4 billion p.a. over the last five years. Rental income from UPDC REIT is underpinned by leases with first-tier tenants. This presents a good match for our business.”
  • Custodian also mentions the N10 billion in assets for sale on the books of UPDC which it will focus on “realising”.
  • For UAC, while it will no longer be pursuing its deconsolidation strategy for UPDC, it will still retain part ownership of the company but will cease to have it as a subsidiary of UAC operating as a standalone.
  • UPDC will now be a subsidiary of Custodian Investment.

UPDC’s Challenges

  • UPDC reported a loss after tax of N15.8 billion in 2019 and has accumulated over N33 billion in losses since 2016.
  • However, its REIT business has faired better reporting a pre-tax profit of N816.5 million in the first half of 2020. It has consistently declared dividends.
  • UPDC collected about N956 million in cash distribution from UPDC Reit in 2019 alone.
  • UPDC has undergone several restructuring since Themis Capital acquired majority ownership in UACN in 2018. However, it was unable to stop the hemorrhaging of losses.

Patricia
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