The Central Bank of Nigeria says it has disbursed N83.9bn loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners to support 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this on Friday at the launch of a documentary film, ‘Unmasked’, in Lagos.
Emefiele, who was represented by the acting Director, Corporate Communication of CBN, Osita Nwamsobi, said the efforts by the private sector-led Coalition Against Covid-19 led to the provision of N25bn relief materials to affected households.
He said, “In this regard, we disbursed over N83.9bn in loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners which is supporting 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country.
“We were also able to mobilise key stakeholders in the Nigerian economy through the CACOVID alliance, which led to the provision of over N25bn in relief materials to affected households, and the set-up of 39 isolation centres across the country.
“These measures helped to expand and strengthen the capacity of our healthcare institutions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The CBN governor said the launch of the documentary film followed an extensive work that had been undertaken by the producers of the film, namely Ms Kadaria Ahmed and Mr Femi Odugbami.
“I would like to commend the producers for focusing on a very vital aspect that is required for the progress of any society, which is the development of a robust healthcare infrastructure,” he said.
He emphasised the important linkage between healthcare and economic growth, and some of the steps to consider in order to ensure a robust healthcare infrastructure accessible to majority of Nigerians.
Emefiele noted that the bank initiated the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Grant Scheme to aid research on solutions that could address diseases such as COVID-19, and other communicable/non-communicable diseases.
He said so far, five major healthcare-related research projects were being financed under the initiative.
He said, “While these interventions have helped to improve our capacity to respond to the crisis, we cannot afford to rest on our oars as more work needs to be done to build a more sustainable healthcare infrastructure in our country.
“This work will require the collaborative efforts of both public and private sector stakeholders.”
According to Emefiele, building a robust healthcare infrastructure is also vital from a security perspective, as some nations have imposed restrictions on the exports of vital medical drugs as well as the use of drug patents that can aid in containing the spread of the pandemic.
He said expanding the insurance net to capture the pool of Nigerians not covered by existing health insurance schemes could help to reduce the high out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare services by Nigerians.