Keeping big-ticket patients in Nigeria

Some investors in Nigeria’s healthcare industry, particularly reproductive care, are now looking to advanced medical technology to persuade big-ticket patients to stay in the country rather than seek treatment abroad.

Investments are now combining the latest medical equipment with the expertise of skilled health consultants to upgrade the quality of care available in Nigeria, particularly in areas such as reproductive care.

Projections by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) show that Nigeria could become the second most populous country in the world by 2100, with 791 million people. Africa’s population is expected to grow from 1.3 billion in 2020 to 2.5 billion by 2050 and Nigeria is estimated to drive the largest part of that growth.

Despite this, many Nigerians face reproductive challenges that health entrepreneurs are now finding opportunities to solve.

For one centre, the reproductive care market in the country has huge potential for minimising the capital flight that occurs through medical tourism overseas. One Wellness Centre, an affiliate of Fetal Medicine Foundation in Belgium has made a new investment in assisted reproductive technologies that will widen access for Nigerians to precise fertility investigations, treatments, and customised procedures for obstetrics and gynaecology.

A feasibility study conducted on the local reproductive market revealed that out of 30 specialised fertility facilities in the country, just one had the latest technology. The organisation also found that the success rate ranged between 30-40%, but with its investment in expertise and technology this could be pushed to about 60%.

The centre has the capacity to perform procedures such as ovarian rejuvenation, anaesthesia-free hysteroscopy, assisted hatching, In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), colposcopy, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, intra-uterine insemination, and egg and sperm storage, among others.

There is also a lack of high-quality service and expertise in orthopaedic services in Nigeria, so if investors can help provide the latest services, they can also curb medical tourism in this area as well.