Monday 13 November 2023

Empowering Healthcare: Private Sector's Role in Nigeria's Future of Health

By Cynthia Umeh

On October 12, 2023, Shades of Us attended the 9th edition of the Future of Health Conference, presented by Nigeria Health Watch. The theme of the conference was ‘The Private Sector as a Catalyst for a Resilient Health Systems’. The necessity of public-private partnerships in reforming Nigeria's healthcare system, bridging financial gaps for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and addressing key health concerns such as endemic infectious disease outbreak and maternal mortality was emphasized at the event.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Private Sector Vitality: The private sector accounts for about 70% of healthcare expenditure in Nigeria, highlighting its critical role in building the healthcare system.

  1. Health and Prosperity: Health is more than just the preservation of human capital: it is also the engine of growth and prosperity. Contributions from the private sector go beyond financial resources to include new ideas and partnerships.

  1. Women's Health Progress: Over the last decade, public-private partnerships have dramatically improved the affordability, accessibility, and quality of women's healthcare.

  1. Bridging Infrastructural Gaps: The private sector can assist in bridging the healthcare infrastructure gap, particularly through well-crafted regulations that encourage collaboration.

  1. Universal Health Coverage (UHC): Achieving UHC by 2030 will necessitate deeper collaborations and participation with the private sector.

  1. Preventing Infectious Disease Outbreak: Collaborative initiatives involving both the public and business sectors are progressing vaccine development, which is vital to halting disease spread.

  1. Brain Gain in Healthcare: By utilizing private sector partnerships and collaboration, strategic efforts can be taken to turn Nigeria's medical brain drain into a brain gain.

  1. Enhancement of Maternal Healthcare: Addressing Nigeria's worrisome maternal mortality rates demands varied approaches as well as private sector involvement in improving access to quality maternal healthcare.


  1. Promote and strengthen public-private partnerships in the healthcare industry to improve healthcare access, cost, and quality.

  1. Create and implement policies that encourage private sector participation, ensuring that both public and private stakeholders benefit.

  1. Continue to collaborate on vaccine development and research to battle diseases like Lassa fever, with the goal of making public health a shared responsibility.

  1. Encourage the return of medical professionals from the diaspora by using their skills and experience.

  1. Improve access and quality of maternal healthcare by prioritizing maternal healthcare through strong private-sector collaboration.

We found the Future of Health Conference to be a dynamic platform for advocating stronger partnerships between the private and public sectors in healthcare. The event shed light on the pivotal role of the private sector in advancing healthcare access and quality, a cause that Shades of Us passionately supports. 

The commitment to fostering collaboration, addressing healthcare infrastructure gaps, and reducing maternal mortality rates resonates with our advocacy for a resilient healthcare system that meets the diverse needs of all Nigerians. The event's focus on innovative solutions, public-private synergy, and the imperative of proactive healthcare planning aligns perfectly with our mission. 

We look forward to further contributing to these vital discussions in the future.

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