Recently, World Health Day was commemorated globally on 7th April, as numerous institutions (public and private), groups, individuals etc. across the world were given the needed charge to double efforts in making the world a healthier place.
World Health Day is a global health awareness day commemorated every year on the 7th of April to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. The global body uses the opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health. The 2022 edition is themed Our planet, our health.
In Nigeria, the country’s premier Banking institution, FirstBank, has – through the years – reiterated its efforts at impacting the country’s health sector, especially during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the high point of the virus, the bank played an active role in supporting public-private driven initiatives that were contributory to combatting the spread of coronavirus. As an active member of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), FirstBank joined forces with other private institutions to donate billions of naira and various healthcare facilities to the health sector. These collaborative efforts were integral to flattening the curve of the virus in Nigeria.
On April 4, 2020, FirstBank posted a unique photo message on its social media handles. The message is deliberate in appreciating the healthcare workers that are battling the coronavirus pandemic on the frontlines. The hashtag #FirstBankSalutes was a viral sensation across social media and several online news outfits, including WhatsApp.
In addition, a digital campaign, “Mask Up, Stay Safe”, was initiated as part of its advocacy to encourage everyone to consciously protect one another against the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign, which was initiated in December 2020, was designed to employ a fun approach to urge and engage its stakeholders on the need to observe the safety and precautionary guidelines.
Most recently, through its Private Health Care Finance product, implemented via Pharmacy Credit Facility, Private Hospital Loan and Diagnostic Centre Loan, FirstBank’s efforts to the growth of the health sector in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
This Pharmacy Credit Facility scheme targets indigenously owned Pharmaceutical shops, that are either owned or managed by Pharmacists who have valid operating licenses as pharmacists, possess valid premises licenses, are registered members of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria and have been in existence for not less than 2 years. The purpose of the facility shall be for stock replacement purposes or working capital requirements, and all payments for the purchase of products will be made directly to the suppliers of the Pharmaceutical Shop.
On the other hand, the Private Hospital Loan provides a facility for indigenously owned private hospitals that are registered with a reputable HMO and have operated for a minimum of 5 years. The purpose of the facility shall be for working capital requirements of running the hospital or for procurement of equipment required for the day-to-day operations of the Hospital.
Also, the Diagnostic Centre Loan offers the facility for indigenously owned diagnostic centres that are registered with a reputable HMO and have operated for a minimum of 5 years. The purpose of the facility shall be for working capital requirements of running the diagnostic centre or for procurement of equipment required for their day-to-day operations.
In 2021, the credit facility disbursed a total of 238 loans to pharmacies, valued at N1.53 billion. However, so far in 2022, 65 loans worth N488 million have been disbursed, taking the total loans disbursed to 303 valued at N2.02 billion. The facility carries a competitive interest rate, overdraft facility and is collateral-free.