Last week, Nigeria hosted the fifth edition of the Medic West Africa and MEDLAB West Africa Exhibition & Congress at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos. Organised by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions and Afrocet Ltd, the annual event is an opportunity for healthcare and medical laboratory professionals from West Africa and beyond to meet face-to-face with the industry’s leading companies. As the largest business platform in the healthcare industry of the region, participants were provided with a unique opportunity to increase their market shares across the health sector.
This year, Medic West Africa attracted over 3,600 healthcare professionals with more than 280 exhibitors from about 30 countries, the highest numbers ever recorded in the exhibition’s history. It is notable that with over 280 exhibitors, Nigeria had only 31, despite being the host country for the exhibition.
The 2016 Medic West Africa Exhibition had a number of new and engaging segments, the most anticipated being the “Leaders in Healthcare” Conference. With the theme, “Leading Nigeria into the 21st Century in Healthcare”, the conference agenda included esteemed health care experts who discussed the potential opportunities that existed to move Nigeria’s healthcare system forward.
The panel included Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, who leads the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control; Dr. Nicholas Azinge, Delta State Commissioner for Health; Joe Akabuike, Anambra State Commissioner for Health;. Dr. Dorothy Jeff-Nnamani who leads Novo Health Africa; Prof Stanley Okolo of the Nigeria Universities Commission; Dr. Hala Daggash of the Healthcare Leadership Academy, and Eyong Ebai, General Manager at GE Healthcare West Central Africa.
Just before the panel discussion, Dr. Jide Idris, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, delivered an excellent speech on Sustainable Healthcare in a 21st Century Nigeria. He reminded the audience that, “Nigeria has only done things right on paper, especially in policy documentation, but not in reality”. Notably present at the conference was Prof. Babatunde Salako, who leads the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, and was at the Conference representing the Minister of Health, Dr. Aihanuwa Eregie, Edo State Commissioner for Health and Mrs. Yetunde Oni, Acting DG of NAFDAC. Oni charged participants to contribute their bit to improve the health sector and not leave the work for only the leaders. She said “the time to rebuild our health sector is now! If we miss it, we might not get it again”.
When the discussion was thrown open the number of hands raised to contribute was an indication of just how passionately Nigerians feel about issues in the health sector. Remi Adeseun pointed out that 15 years after the Abuja Declaration, Nigeria is yet to fulfil its pledge of allotting 15 percent of its annual budget to health. Several health issues were addressed but most recurrent in the discussion were Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health insurance. Concerning health insurance, Prof. Salako mentioned that although Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs) receive directly from their contributors, they do not pay hospitals regularly. He urged that the government finds ways to solve this particular challenge.
After a successful launch in 2015, Medic West Africa once again hosted the Healthcare Financing Conference in association with the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN). This year’s theme was “Bridging The Divide Between Healthcare and Finance.” Speakers included Clare Omatseye, president of the HFN and experts from Arkounting Business Concepts. With a full room of engaging participants, speakers discussed pertinent issues of funding in healthcare businesses as well as financial management tips. Clare Omatseye advised healthcare business owners to always negotiate and read terms of loans from financial institutions before taking offers. “Taking a loan is not a sin, taking a loan in ignorance is a sin”, she said.
Back by popular demand, Medic West Africa also hosted the Social Media conference, this year focusing on “Improving Healthcare Access through Digital Health.” Members of the faculty included, Bryan Pearson of FSG Communications, Adeloye Olanrenwaju of Safermom, Temie Giwa-Tunbosun of LifeBank, Chris Alagboso and Paul Adepoju of HealthNewsNG.com, Seun Odiase of MedEnhanz and Juliet Offiah, Lead TV show host of “We the Doctors”. A very interactive session, there was a strong debate on the topic of advertising amongst healthcare providers. “When healthcare professionals are afraid of adopting technology, they open up opportunities for the fakes to take over the market”, Ifeanyi Abraham, panellist and PR Manager of eTranzact, said.
Altogether, we at Nigeria Health Watch hope to see more Nigerian exhibitors displaying the best products and services that our local market has to offer. While we anticipate the 6th edition of the MWA Exhibitions from 11- 13 October, 2017, we hope that discussions at this conference are made available to our government to guide policy formulation in the health sector.
Enjoy photos of Medic West Africa 2016 here.