K.V. Kurmanath

Hyderabad, Oct. 31 Apollo Hospitals’ Africa plans are finally taking shape, with the Nigerian Government asking it to help modernise the healthcare delivery system in that country.

To stop huge outflows of $250 million every year in the form of patients going abroad for treatment, the African country said it would co-invest with Apollo Hospitals and the local private players in setting up hospitals.

Apollo would also involve itself in setting up an information technology backbone for the healthcare sector and establishing centres of excellence in specific medical specialities in some government hospitals.

“The first interventions could be diagnosis of our public hospitals by Apollo. To begin with, we will set up a hospital with the Government picking 20-30 per cent equity,” Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Nigerian Minister of Health, told Business Line.

“We also expect Apollo to ensure distribution of quality drugs in our country,” he added. The Minister, who was here to hold discussions with Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals group, and other executives, said he would hand over the Letter of Intent, before signing the memorandum of understanding.

The Nigerian delegation, led by the Minister, had visited the Apollo facilities in New Delhi and Hyderabad.

Opportunity

Dr Prathap Reddy said it was too early to forecast the kind of investments the company would make in Nigeria.

The group, which is involved in the Pan-Africa Telemedicine Programme that covered 52 countries, viewed the Nigerian invite as a precursor to expanding its operations in the Continent.

“We are in talks with Tanzania, Uganda, Malta and Libya,” he said.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 1, 2009)
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