CHAIRMAN of the board of one of Africa’s fastest growing companies Sterling Bank, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, has revealed that the bank has taken major strides to solve some of the challenges of the nation’s healthcare sector by partnering with providers to innovate and improve access and the delivery of care in the country. This was disclosed in a speech given at the 50th anniversary celebration of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital held recently in Edo state.

In a presentation titled Revolutionizing Healthcare Access in Nigeria: Exploring Cutting-Edge Financial Models, Mr. Ighodalo submitted that Sterling’s intervention in the healthcare sector is a component of the bank’s HEART of Sterling strategy which focuses investments on the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation sectors of the Nigerian economy.

According to Sterling’s Chairman, “The bank is working with sub-nationals to design workable healthcare schemes, invest in technology, and scale their health insurance propositions, ensuring coverage for the most vulnerable, while jump starting the journey to the larger pools of funds that will be required to fully finance the healthcare supply chain.”

He said Sterling has also supported the design and the implementation of?“Health-Insurance-As-A-Service” propositions where it owns the outcomes and has successfully embedded the service with three state governments at present. All with encouraging impact outcomes over the past year.

He said the bank has enabled fractional premium payment solutions for private health insurance schemes in a bid to enable Nigerians to access quality health insurance nationwide, without having to make huge one-time contributions.

Ighodalo added that Sterling Bank is also actively engaged in the design of products that fund?access to care, citing the bank’s recent partnership with Roche in the design and delivery of an innovative financial product that helps drive down the?overall cost of delivering a full breast cancer treatment as an example. This collaboration provides the full funding required for a complete intervention, minimizing interruptions in treatment and greatly improving patients’ chances of a full recovery through sustained care.

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During the presentation, Mr Ighodalo said, “Through an integrated partnership using effective logistics and technology, we?are upgrading and manning pharmacies in public health service centres and have?signed several MOUs with state governments for health supply chain?transformation projects to enhance service delivery efficiency.

“On the back of our intervention in health supply chain projects, the global drone logistics?company, Zipline, has begun to invest and operate in Nigeria,” Ighodalo said.

He further remarked that Tristate Hospitals recently performed heart surgery on a 6-day old infant in Nigeria, a development which was made possible, in part, by strategic wholesale investments from Sterling Bank.

“Tristate Healthcare, through that intervention, has been able to perform more complex surgeries: successfully?completing more than 100 cardiac surgeries in the last six months. We support?hospital owning groups as they seek to acquire assets, expand and roll out. We?are also involved in acquiring expensive complex and state-of-the-art equipment?for lease and shared usage by different medical facilities,” The Chairman said.

He said Sterling Bank is proud of the work it is doing in healthcare, but it is mindful that it?represents just a token of what is necessary to transform the nation’s healthcare?story.


“We need primary healthcare tackled, and we need just one state to?kickstart that revolution, using the Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti playbook,” he said, adding that “to scale the number of physicians in the country to the WHO benchmark in 10 years, we need to train?at least 2.4 million doctors and keep them in country.”

Ighodalo said, “In order to achieve these numbers, there is a need to imagine the educational creativity and resources required for training and imagine what would happen if we let this nation’s youth loose on new?technologies and emerging trends like health robotics, artificial intelligence, big?data, telemedicine, precision medicine, block chain technology to revolutionize?access to quality healthcare.”

He said all that it will take to achieve the feat is vision-powered leadership and hard?unrelenting work, remarking that those who have committed themselves to that course in other?developing countries are not better and that the onus is on Nigerians to prove it.

Along with its HEART of Sterling strategy, which focuses major investments in the Health, Education, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation sectors of the economy, Sterling has become renowned for its youth-focused brand, which is a leading light in the financial services category and has recently completed a major milestone towards the completion of its transformation into a financial holdings company with the relisting of its shares on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX).



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