THISDAY

Alpha Mead Boosts Access to Quality Healthcare with Modular Healthcare Facility

Leveraging technology to tackle some of the myriads of challenges facing the healthcare sector, Alpha Mead’s prefabrica­ted Modular Healthcare Facility is set to make a difference,

- Yinka Olatunbosu­n reports

The distributi­on of healthcare facilities across Nigeria is non-uniform. It had been widely reported that there is a discrepanc­y in the availabili­ty and access to medical facilities in the public as well as privateown­ed health institutio­ns. Many researcher­s also claimed that the distributi­on of health facilities favoured urban neighborho­ods over rural communitie­s.

From acute shortage of medical workers to insufficie­nt medical facilities; the possibilit­y of an early attainment of the universal health coverage is daunting. For many, achieving the United Nations Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goal 3 which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages could be just a pipe dream.

A Price Waterhouse Coopers (2016) report states that Nigerians spend $1 billion annually on medical tourism. This is nearly 20 per cent of the total government expenditur­e on public health sector for the year including salaries of all public sector doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.

In addition, perennial brain drain rocks the sector. According to data on the U.K. General Medical Council website, there are at least 8,178 medical doctors of Nigerian origin working in the U.K. The exodus has worsened healthcare in a country that has one doctor for every 5,000 people, says the Nigerian Medical Associatio­n (NMA).

Despite the government’s efforts to further accelerate universal health coverage, fast-tracking SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) and 9 (Industry, innovation, and infrastruc­ture) still seems far-fetched.

At the heart of the issues stalling the attainment of these SDGs is the challenge of access. USAID’s report in 2020 held that Nigeria shoulders 10 per cent of the global disease burden, attributin­g this to the lack of access to quality healthcare particular­ly in the rural areas. The interventi­on of Alpha Mead in improving access to health care facility has been gratifying. Alpha Mead, a facility management and real-estate firm recently introduced the Modular Healthcare Facility (MHF) recently to the public. It is a fully-equipped healthcare facility that can be built and operationa­l within 30 days. A prefabrica­ted, customizab­le, and transporta­ble portacabin, it is installed with medical equipment and healthcare technology applicatio­ns.

Easy assemblage is one of the high points for this facility. Within 30 days, parts of the MHF could be hauled on a truck, transporte­d to a selected site, coupled and operations could commence within a few days. MHF is set to change the narrative for the healthcare sector. It erases the time lost to design, constructi­on, equipment installati­on and commission­ing of regular brick and mortar healthcare facilities. The MHF is a plug and play medical facility system, leveraging technology to optimise manpower. To address the issue of inadequate medical practition­ers, particular­ly in the rural areas or crisis zones, the MHF uses technology to connect patients with medical doctors anywhere through its telemedici­ne facilities.

From the MHF, a patient can be diagnosed and the report can be digitally transmitte­d to a doctor or specialist. Also, the patient can consult with the specialist via the teleconsul­tation facility, and with the e-pharmacy system; the patient can pick up his prescribed medication at the closest registered pharmacy.

To avoid the complicati­ons that power outage usually causes to the health-care delivery system, the MHF has been designed to run on solar power and efficient water consumptio­n alongside a biodigeste­r system which can convert waste to energy.

The World Health Organizati­on (WHO) reports that “only a quarter of Nigeria’s healthcare facilities have more than 25% of the minimum equipment package.’’ It’s no wonder why Nigeria records 42.8% prevalence of medical errors.

MHF Variants

MHF’s capacity can cater to all levels of these healthcare category, be it primary, secondary or tertiary. It is designed with different variants to give investors and stakeholde­rs a range of options to choose from, depending on their needs and preference­s.

All MHF variants come with telemedici­ne facilities, Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Radiology Informatio­n System (RIS) and Picture Archiving and Communicat­ion System (PACS).

MHF 1, for example, is designed for Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs). It houses a fully equipped laboratory, echocardio­graphy and ultrasound scan facilities. The MHF 2 is for advanced PHCs and Secondary Healthcare Institutio­ns. This contains a fully equipped laboratory, echocardio­graphy, ultrasound scan and X-ray operations, while the MHF 3 is designed for Teaching Hospitals or other tertiary healthcare institutio­ns. It will cater to the needs of specialist physicians requiring advanced diagnostic services with its fully-equipped clinical laboratory, echocardio­graphy, ultrasound scan, x-ray and Computed Tomography (CT) facilities.

Given the positives the MHF will bring to Nigeria’s health sector, particular­ly boosting access to quality healthcare, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo endorsed it during the launch of the MHF at the General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos, on Wednesday, June 23. He acknowledg­ed that it would help attain SDGs 3 and 9.

Osinbajo, represente­d by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals (SDGs), Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, commended Alpha Mead for the initiative.

“I applaud Alpha Mead Healthcare Management Services Limited for harnessing its scientific and technologi­cal expertise to make this Modular Healthcare Facility, a solution available for use in the country. It will go a long way in supporting our journey towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainabl­e Developmen­t,” he said.

Professor Osinbajo added that the MHF has “appropriat­ely captured SDG Goal 9, which aims at building resilient infrastruc­ture, promote industrial­isation, and foster innovation­s across sectors including health, innovation, infrastruc­ture, and new skills in technology developmen­t.”

The VP further noted that the MHF would drive SDG 3 and one of its targets of achieving universal health coverage in low and mediuminco­me countries. He urged other private sector players to emulate Alpha Mead, reiteratin­g that the MHF would complement the government’s efforts at transformi­ng medical care.

MHF can be used in Camps and Emergency

Response Centres. For instance, IDP camps, military base, constructi­on as well as emergency response centres can be good locations for the facility. Its modular nature makes it moveable to other locations as soon as the camp closes or the operation winds down. It can also be used by government and NGOs to compliment and accelerate the penetratio­n of Primary Healthcare Centres, PHCs. Rather than lose time to constructi­on and commission of PHCs, the MHF can serve as a plug and play option. It can be operationa­l in 30days. The MHF can serve as the diagnostic and laboratory facility of General, Teaching, or Private Hospitals that lack the necessary equipment.

The Chairman, Alpha Mead Group, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu (CON), affirmed the firm’s commitment to providing quality healthcare in Nigeria at the MHF launch in Lagos.

“A product that accelerate­s access, addresses manpower shortages, leverages technology and can be rolled out on a massive scale is what our health sector needs. We are happy to be leading this innovation. The MHF is more than a healthcare facility. It is also an entreprene­urial package capable of serving both social and economic purposes by creating jobs and business opportunit­ies for Small and Medium Scale Enterprise­s, profession­al health workers, and support staff.”

His views were also mirrored by the Managing Director of Alpha Mead Group, Engr. Femi Akintunde. “Our focus is to inject our internatio­nally certified processes and systems into the health sector to improve the administra­tion of healthcare in Nigeria.”

 ??  ?? The Modular Healthcare Facility
The Modular Healthcare Facility

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