Access Bank wins Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award 2019

19 Sep 2019, 12:00 am
Martins Hile


Through various financing schemes and health initiatives, Access Bank is at the forefront of innovation and support for improvements in the healthcare sector of Nigeria and Africa.

Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director and CEO, Access Bank Plc

Access Bank Plc. was announced as winner of the “Outstanding Healthcare SME-Friendly Bank of the Year” award at the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) 2019. The award marked the fourth consecutive year the bank has been recognised by NHEA.
Access Bank was bestowed the “Outstanding Healthcare Friendly Bank” at the 2016 and 2017 editions of NHEA. It also won the “Outstanding CSR Health Project of the Year” award in 2018. The award ceremony of the NHEA 2019, which was the 6th edition of the annual awards, took place recently at Eko Hotels & Suites, Lagos.

An initiative of Global Health Project and Resources – in partnership with Anadach Group – the NHEA is organised to recognise institutions and individuals who have made laudable contributions towards the growth and development of the Nigerian healthcare sector. The awards promote a framework for achieving global standards in health care across Nigeria, while encouraging market leadership and exemplary performance across the value chain of the healthcare industry.
NHEA says its recognition aims to stimulate quality improvement and innovation in the country's health sector. Through various financing schemes and health initiatives, Access Bank is at the forefront of innovation and support for improvements in the healthcare sector of Nigeria and Africa.  
A key intervention in the health system that is being led by Access Bank is "Malaria To Zero." It is a bold campaign designed to accelerate progress in the malaria elimination agenda of the Nigerian government and also accomplish a key target of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Nigerian government’s National Malaria Strategic Plan (2014-2020) aims to eradicate malaria from within the borders of the country in the foreseeable future. The plan, which was launched in 2015, is estimated to cost $4.1 billion over the period of its implementation. The anti-malaria agenda requires strategic coordination and private sector support, which Access Bank is driving with the Malaria To Zero campaign.
The goal of the campaign is to save one million lives by 2020 by leveraging private sector financing and other resources through an innovative approach to combat and eliminate the deadly malaria disease. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there were an estimated 435,000 deaths from malaria globally in 2017, compared with 451,000 estimated deaths in 2016, and 607,000 in 2010. Unfortunately, Nigeria accounted for 82,650 (19%) of the global deaths from malaria in 2017. The WHO World Malaria Report 2018 shows that Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported the highest increases in cases of malaria in 2017 compared with 2016.
WHO said children aged under five years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria. In 2017, they accounted for 61% (266 000) of all malaria deaths worldwide. Nigeria's disproportionate malaria burden calls for concerted, quick and dexterous response to save lives. Access Bank remains committed to the campaign and several other health system interventions the bank is spearheading and supporting.

Speaking at the NHEA 2019, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head, Sustainability at Access Bank, said, “Access Bank has an unwavering commitment to significantly improve the health sector in Nigeria. Therefore, as a bank, we have studied the health sector and identified inadequate financing as a causal factor for the poor healthcare system in Nigeria.”

Among Access Bank's healthcare-focused products is the Maternal Health Support Scheme (MHSS), which offers discounted financing for special medical procedures for women. The MHSS has made it possible for over 107 families to obtain a range of medical procedures, including in-vitro fertilization (ivf), myomectomy, bariatric, dental and orthopedic procedures. The support has led to the birth of more than 58 babies, successful infant bone surgeries, fibroid treatments and other maternal-related procedures.

“We have also formed strategic partnerships with institutions like Medical Credit Fund (MCF), Hygeia and other medical organisations, which have enabled us to provide financing to a larger base of health practitioners that our customers can benefit from as well. We are extremely honoured to be receiving this award,” Ms. Victor-Laniyan said, while also thanking NHEA, on behalf of the bank, for the recognition.

Another healthcare financing product offered by Access Bank to its customers is the Betta Mama Betta Pikin initiative. The product provides an opportunity for mothers and their children to gain access to health insurance. Access Bank's flagship Hospital Facility Upgrade Support Scheme (HFUSS) was created to help address the lack of medical equipment/facilities at primary and secondary healthcare centres. Over 30 hospitals have benefitted from the initiative to improve the quality of health care delivery.

Access Bank's Group Managing Director/CEO, Herbert Wigwe represents the bank as Co-Chair of Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA), the coalition established to lead private sector HIV/AIDS intervention programmes in the country. The coalition is committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic at all levels of intervention within the country's health system and the private sector workforce.

HIV/AIDS affects 3.1 million Nigerians – or 8% of the global population of those living with the virus. NiBUCAA is helping increase awareness about various HIV treatment and intervention programmes, and also helping to reduce the spread of the virus.

In February 2019, Access Bank was among the group – comprising Aliko Dangote Foundation, GBCHealth and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) – that launched the African Business Coalition for Health (ABC Health) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The coalition aims to mobilise business leaders, governments and other stakeholders to crowd-in private investment into the healthcare sector, champion healthcare reform agenda and boost innovative solutions that will improve health outcomes on the continent.

Leveraging its position as Africa’s largest bank by customer base, Access Bank is delivering sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally-responsible and socially relevant. Its sustainability initiatives have been recognised globally as the bank continues to garner awards, including the Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Awards, which the bank has won four times in a row from 2016-2019.

Also speaking at the NHEA award ceremony, Ayodele Oloyede, Head, Emerging Businesses at Access Bank, said, “Our bank is notable for being at the forefront of sustainable partnerships for reforms and development of Nigeria."

By supporting the healthcare system, Oloyede said Access Bank understands that good healthcare is important to productivity. The bank also supports micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as part of its measures to help boost the Nigerian economy since MSMEs are considered the engine of economic growth, by virtue of their contribution to employment and wealth creation.

Access Bank said it remains committed to making more impact in the healthcare sector. The bank said it will continue to intervene both at the healthcare-service-provider and at healthcare-service-consumer levels, given the nature of its funding, which improves the cashflow of healthcare providers as well as ensures that customers have all they need to live healthy lives.

Martins Hile is Executive Editor, Financial Nigeria magazine