SCIDaR is taking a major step forward in harnessing private partnerships to boost the business viability of private community health providers. These institutions play a vital role in ensuring access to healthcare services for many Nigerians, particularly those in underserved communities.

On Friday, February 23rd, 2024, the team signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wema Bank, a leading Nigerian bank. This partnership aims to improve access to credit and financial services for healthcare providers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the health sector.

The MoU signing marks the launch of the Promoting Accreditation for Community Health Services (PACS) project. This pilot initiative will connect healthcare providers with the financial resources they need to thrive. But financial support isn’t the only focus. SCIDaR has also partnered with two business development service providers, MSME BDS Limited and Jewel Entrepreneurship and Business School (JEBS). These collaborations will provide technical assistance to healthcare SMEs, equipping them with the requisite skills to build strong and sustainable relationships with financial institutions.

The MoU signing ceremony, held at SCIDaR’s headquarters in Abuja, brought together key stakeholders. Dr. Uchenna Igbokwe, ED/CEO of SCIDaR, signed alongside Mr. Chioma Onuaguluchi, Wema Bank’s Regional Manager for Abuja. Additionally, Dr Peter Ayim (CEO, MSME BDS Limited) and Dr Arab Rukujei (CEO, JEBS) were present to witness the partnerships. These initiatives hold particular significance for community pharmacies (CPs) and patent proprietary medicine vendors (PPMVs) that have been trained to deliver essential reproductive care services and also provided facilitation support to access loans from banks, and dedicated business management advisory and capacity-building services. The MoUs highlight key areas of collaboration, including leveraging the competencies of all parties to identify peculiar business needs of health MSMEs and providing targeted business advisory support, and financial services including business credit lines, and business and inventory management digitalisation.

All parties involved expressed their commitment to promoting financial inclusion and fostering the growth of healthcare SMEs. Wema Bank’s Regional Manager, Mr. Chioma Onuaguluchi, emphasized their enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “We are privileged to partner on the PACS project and excited to see this as the beginning of several cooperative agreements with SCIDaR for the health sector.”

In his remarks, the Executive Director of SCIDaR, Dr Uchenna Igbokwe said, “The partnership formalization with Wema Bank and Business development service providers today marks the beginning of a new chapter on how we support health providers and health facilities to improve the quality of services they provide. We have a long-term vision of strengthening the private sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s health sector, and aligns with the Honorable Coordinating Minister of Health’s plan for unlocking value chains as a core pillar to  achieving the health sector renewal agenda.”

SCIDaR and its partners are actively engaging with healthcare providers to understand their specific needs and begin the deployment of promised business management and financing support in the coming weeks.