Herbert Wigwe urges Support for Innovators to Tackle Nigeria’s Health Challenges



Access bank MDManaging Director of Access Bank Plc and Chair of the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM), Herbert Wigwe has advocated a consensus building between donors, government and the private sector in order to address healthcare challenges in Nigeria.


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Speaking at the presentation of awards to inaugural winners of the Health Innovation Challenge Awards in Lagos, Wigwe noted that health innovators, through their disruptive and entrepreneurial thinking have been able to come with solutions to some of the most daunting challenges in Nigeria’s health sector.


A Nigerian-made malaria test that can diagnose the disease within 25 minutes using drops of patients sample won the inaugural 2015 Health Innovation Challenge Awards. Accordingly, Wigwe appealed for private and public sector support to the health innovators, stressing that such combined efforts would play a critical role in addressing healthcare challenges and broader market failures.


“Over the last twelve months, the Health Innovation Challenge went through massive campaigns and rigorous internal and independent assessments to identify people and organizations, who in various corners of Nigeria, in all geo-political zones, are on the path of disrupting healthcare challenges. These bold individuals and their teams are looking at healthcare service delivery, medical technologies, locally manufactured commodities and even healthcare financing, in different ways, in a bid to take us down paths that achieve the result of better health outcomes in Nigeria,” he stated.


According to him, the innovators, through their disrupting thinking have modelled their theories of change and innovations to be viable, profitable and sustainable for years to come. “This is a shift of the lens through which we have seen healthcare, which is that it is not merely a public good for which we rely on government but also that the private sector can play a central role in expanding citizens’ access to better quality.”


From among over 100 entries, 42 innovations went through the recent business development boot camp, 12 were adopted into an accelerator program while 6 innovators were rewarded with various amounts of grants. These grants are based on expert reviews of innovations’ potentials to save lives and their ability to self-sustain after the seed stage catalytic funding has been granted.


Chief Executive Officer of Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN), Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq said, “It is important to use innovative platforms to improve healthcare in Nigeria adding that various players in the country including PHN, Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation (HSDF), Flint Atlantic Capital, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and others are already converging a market for healthcare social enterprise and impact investment capital.