Access Bank Reveals Plans to Issue N100bn Worth of Loans to The Nigerian Health Sector

What started as an outbreak in China near the end of 2019 has now developed into a global pandemic. Last week, for the first time since the COVID-19 epidemic started, the number of new cases outside of China was greater than inside the country. By 25 April, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria surpassed 1,000, having recorded its index case on 28 February.
 
The Coronavirus is set to test the preparedness of the Nigerian healthcare system in the coming weeks as the country continues to make strides in expanding its testing capability. The early experience in countries with large-scale community transmission (China, Iran, Italy and Spain) shows that COVID-19 requires unprecedented mobilization of health systems. By acting urgently, countries that have not yet entered community transmission or are at the early stages may have a narrow opportunity to slow transmission and prepare their health systems to mitigate the impact of the outbreak.
 
In a bid to strengthen the capacity of players in the Nigerian healthcare sector, Access Bank, under the auspices of the Central Bank of Nigeria, will be issuing loans, worth up to N100bn.
 
The loan scheme is part of a six-point palliative by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), of which Access Bank is a participating financial institute (PFI). It was developed to provide funding to indigenous pharmaceutical companies and other organizations in the healthcare value chain, enabling them to increase capacity to meet the increasing demand for healthcare arising from the pandemic.
 
According to Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing of Access Bank, “It has become clear to all and sundry that Nigeria’s healthcare sector is in dire need of revitalization and Access Bank, under the auspices of the Central Bank of Nigeria, will be investing heavily in this sector in the coming months. We would be looking to grow Nigeria’s capacity to not only manufacture drugs and other medical supplies locally but also encourage entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities that lie within the sector.”
 
“In a nutshell, Access Bank is making it possible for pharmaceutical companies and healthcare service providers, manufacturers and distributors to have easy access to long term credit, as they seek to provide medical infrastructure and health essentials, now and beyond the pandemic,” he concluded.
 
Available at a maximum interest rate of 5.0% per annum (all-inclusive),  up to 28th February 2021, the loan is accessible to Nigeria’s healthcare product manufacturers, including pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment; healthcare service providers/medical facilities – hospitals/clinics, diagnostic centres, laboratories, fitness and wellness centres, rehabilitation centres, dialysis centres, blood banks, among others.
 
Overall, improving the quality and performance in the healthcare environment can help providers with reliable, cost-effective and sustained healthcare processes and enable them to achieve their goal of improving care delivery and enhancing patient outcomes. On the front line, it all starts with healthcare service providers to get adopted to the environment where quality improvement comes first rather than the process outcomes.