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The popular saying “health is wealth but wealth is not wealth” remains true, and providing a quality healthcare system in any given country is the solid bedrock for growth and sustainable development.

Lack of quality healthcare is still a major challenge in Africa. In some countries, only 50% of the population has access to basic healthcare services and the number of health workers is far lower than the global average. Access to healthcare is further complicated by a lack of resources in rural communities, weak infrastructure, and political instability. These factors have led to an increase in preventable diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.

In addition to inadequate access to healthcare, Africa faces numerous other issues. These include poverty, climate change, and a lack of education on health-related topics as well as lack of scale in terms of hospitals.

In a recent interview, Betsy Henderson for How We Made It Africa speaks with Femi Ogunjimi—one of the founding partners of CardinalStone and the Managing Partner of the Lagos-based private equity affiliate company, CardinalStone Capital Advisors Limited.

CardinalStone, last year, funded AfyA Care—which provides physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health to its customers, empowering them to live a complete and harmonious life, with $6m to scale up.

During the interview, Femi talked about the  biggest problems in Nigerian healthcare:

“Although we at CardinalStone Capital Advisors (CCA) are generally sector-agnostic, healthcare is one of our preferred investment sectors. Prior to joining CCA, as an investment banker I had worked with the founders of AfyA Care when they started AXA Mansard HMO, which is now the largest healthcare insurance provider in Nigeria. I had firsthand experience watching them grow that business from scratch to become number one, and I was interested to see their vision for AfyA Care.”

“One of the biggest problems in Nigerian healthcare is a lack of scale in terms of hospitals and related businesses. The largest private hospitals in Nigeria have 250 beds at most, whereas private hospitals in China and India have upwards of 2,000 beds. Those hospitals are operating at a scale that allows them to provide quality healthcare at an affordable cost.”

Despite these obstacles, various organizations and initiatives local and international are making progress in improving the state of healthcare in Africa. Organizations like African Health Initiative, Partners in Health, UNICEF, and WHO are working to expand healthcare offerings to vulnerable communities.

To ensure that progress is sustained, it is vital to implement measures that improve the quality of healthcare while simultaneously making services more accessible. 

Potential Solutions:

Telemedicine 

One potential solution is to invest in telemedicine. Telemedicine offers remote diagnosis and treatment by connecting healthcare providers with their patients and can provide care in locations with limited or no access to healthcare. By providing healthcare virtually, telemedicine also reduces the costs associated with traditional forms of care.

Reducing Poverty

Initiatives should be implemented to reduce poverty. Reducing poverty would help reduce the burden of healthcare costs in Africa, while simultaneously increasing access to healthcare. This could be done through the implementation of financial assistance programs, the creation of job opportunities, and the establishment of social safety nets. Additionally, improving the educational system would equip people with the skills and knowledge necessary to better access healthcare services.

It is essential to involve the community in healthcare initiatives. This can be done through the use of local leaders, who can provide advice and guidance on healthcare topics, and by creating effective communication channels between healthcare providers and the community.

To make this goal a reality, governments must also take action to ensure that healthcare services can be provided in an equitable and sustainable manner. This includes providing adequate financing for healthcare initiatives and creating policies that protect health workers and their patients. However, achieving this goal will require concerted and sustained effort from all stakeholders. Governments must develop and maintain strong healthcare systems, while international organizations and NGOs must continue to provide support, resources, and funding.

The public must remain engaged, vocal, and active in advocating for healthcare rights and access for all.

By Elijah Christopher 

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