As African countries continue to work towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage 2030 goals, Diaspora Remittances have been identified as a potential source of funding to accelerate the continent’s progress towards achieving the UHC agenda. These remittances are money transfers made by citizens living outside their home country. According to the World Bank (2017), Sub-Saharan Africa remittances accelerated 11.4 percent to $38 billion in 2017, which can be attributed to increased economic growth in advanced economies. The report also indicated that Nigeria has the largest segment of remittance recipients, which amounts to $21.9 billion, alongside Senegal ($2.2 billion), and Ghana ($2.2 billion). Also, the 2018 Nigeria outlook report by PWC indicates that the Nigerian diaspora sent an estimated US$25 billion in remittances to the country in 2018, representing 6.1% of GDP. According to the report, 83% of the Nigerian federal government budget in 2018 was 11 times more than the foreign direct investment during the same period. This sets Nigeria apart as the largest remittance market in Africa, and the fifth largest in the world as described by the 2019 World Bank migration and remittance brief. If explored and harnessed, these indices offer a huge opportunity for sustainable healthcare financing.
On the 25th of October 2019, PharmAccess Nigeria presented and demonstrated the HealthConnect Diaspora Remittance App at the 30th Medical Association of Nigerians Across Great Britain (MANSAG) annual general and scientific conference. During the conference, the PharmAccess Program Director, Charlotte Wilming mentioned that the App facilitates financial support from friends or relatives by direct remittance of funds into a personal ‘health wallet’. “This mobile system connects payers, patients, and providers of healthcare while enabling individuals to hold insurance benefits, or aggregate funds from various sources, including savings to pay for medical treatment at clinics simply through their mobile phone.” Also, according to Njide Ndili Country Director, PharmAccess Nigeria, “the app facilitates Diaspora Remittances and enables premium payments of loved ones back home in Nigeria, giving everyone peace of mind that their healthcare expenses are taken care of, and facilitating access to SafeCare clinics within the health insurance scheme managed by the state.”
Currently, PharmAccess Nigeria, in partnership with CarePay Nigeria Limited, is supporting the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) with the implementation of the Lagos State Mandatory Health Scheme through a digital exchange platform. The Health Connect app will be linked with this digital platform to facilitate the remittance offering, enabling families to pay directly for their loved ones back home.
PharmAccess Nigeria is an entrepreneurial organization focused on making health markets work through digital innovations.