The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, on May 12 announced a partnership with SRL Limited, GE Healthcare and Echo-Scan Services Limited for the development of a chain of health diagnostic centers across Nigeria.
As part of the consortium, IFC will invest $12 million for the development of the new advanced, comprehensive diagnostic centers, and SRL, the largest operator of diagnostic centers in India and current IFC client, will operate the centers and provide personnel training. GE Healthcare will serve as the joint development partner and key technology solutions provider, bringing a range of diagnostic imaging equipment, training, and $5 million of investment, according to IFC.
The new company, which will build on the services currently offered by Echo-Scan, will for the first time provide access to more sophisticated health technology for Nigerians who cannot afford to leave the country for services. Currently, Echo-Scan’s seven clinics serve about 250,000 patients a year, about one-third of which are expectant mothers, providing sonograms, basic x-rays, and lab tests for malaria, viral and bacterial infections. New investment will support the construction of two additional flagship centers and the refurbishment of existing centers to enable them to offer more advanced Lab Medicine (Histopathology, Cytogenetics, Genetic disorders, Molecular Diagnostics) and Imaging Services (MRI, High resolution CT scans). The project, which will be implemented in phases, eventually aims to serve one million patients annually.
SRL Limited is a part of the well-known Fortis Group. It operates over 270 labs about 6500 collection points across India and beyond. SRL will operate and manage the centers in Nigeria, and be responsible for planning, organizing, staffing and equipping the centers, and also creating systems and Standard Operating Protocols. SRL plans to install its proprietary IT solution – “Centralized Lab Information Management System (CLIMS)” to ensure seamless working of each and every segment of the network. GE will be the technology partner for radiology.
Echo-Scan co-Founder and Managing Director, Dr. Ayodele Cole Benson said, “Working with partners to create Eagle-Eye Echo-Scan will help us fulfill our vision of delivering high quality health services in Nigeria. This new company will provide career development for current staff and greater professional opportunities for Nigerian medical professionals to remain in their home country and work in state-of-the-art facilities, which benefits the entire health system.”
IFC Country Manager for Nigeria Eme Essien Lore said, “Population growth, rising incomes, and greater incidence of non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes are increasing demand for health care in Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa. Pathology and radiology play an important role in the prevention and care of these chronic conditions.”
CEO of SRL Limited Sanjeev Vashishta said, “We have to reach out to the masses. Diagnostics Services have to be provided to the citizens of the country closer to their homes and there is no reason for anybody to travel hundreds of miles to get quality health and diagnostics services, let alone leave Nigeria for the right tests and healthcare. Project Eagle Eye will endeavor to bring back the talented doctors, scientists, technologists who left the country by providing them with the opportunity to work on the high-end and contemporary technologies right here in Nigeria.”
Farid Fezoua, President and CEO of GE Healthcare Africa said: “At GE Healthcare, we believe that sustainable healthcare development requires a system-wide approach, combining technology, capacity-building, including training, service and maintenance, as well as long-term financing. To that end, this multi-disciplinary partnership between IFC, Echo Scan, SRL and GE aims to expand access to quality and affordable diagnostic imaging in the private sector and complements significant efforts to strengthen Nigeria’s growing health sector. We look forward to working closely with our partners towards ensuring the long-term success of this venture to enable better outcomes for more Nigerian patients and in setting a new healthcare delivery model throughout Africa.”
Good health makes it possible for people to work, study and care for their families, and expanding access to health services is a priority for development. IFC is the world’s largest multilateral investor in private healthcare, with nearly $3 billion worth of health investments in more than 50 countries over the past 15 years. IFC investments in service providers, pharmaceuticals and medical technology are aimed at promoting greater access to affordable, high-quality healthcare in developing countries.