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India helps Nigeria ramp up healthcare systems

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Accra: Oil-rich Nigeria, West Africa’s biggest nation, saw its citizens spend millions of dollars on medical treatment in India due to an inadequate health delivery sector, but this is set to change as the Indian government and private healthcare providers are turning to invest locally to benefit from this huge market.

An indication of the huge numbers of Nigerians who travelled to India is reflected in the number of visas that were issued over the years.

“In 2012, about 40 percent of all visas to India from Nigeria were for medical tourism and Nigerians spent about $260 million on medical expenses in India,” KPMG Africa chairman Oluseyi Bickersteth told.

Indian involvement in Nigeria’s healthcare delivery is gradually increasing after a lull in the 1970s when most of the Indian medical officers operating in the country left, Bickersteth said. Nigeria’s new interest has been also bolstered by the Indian government’s announcement last January to set up two specialist units for eye and cancer care.

Noting that last year, the United Nations Development Index ranked Nigeria 152 out of 187 countries in healthcare delivery, Bickersteth said: “This low ranking indicates not only the problems with infrastructure and healthcare facilities, which are poor, but also high infant mortality rates and relatively low life expectancy.”

He said current gaps in the Nigerian healthcare system, like low doctor-population ratio, inadequate infrastructure, low health insurance cover, absence of internationally recognized certifications and high brain drain have forced Nigerian patients to seek medical services abroad.

“In the last few years, India has become a destination of choice for large numbers of Nigerian patients owing to its low cost, quality of healthcare, expertise in complex surgeries and no waiting time,” Bickersteth said.

“Taking cue from the gaps in healthcare delivery in Nigeria, Indian healthcare players have started increasing their presence in Nigeria,” he said, adding: “India has a strong trade connection with Nigeria. More than 100 Indian companies are present in Nigeria, which have made significant investment in the country. India has also been a privileged partner in Nigeria’s healthcare sector.”

Bickersteth said, “India is a leading country to fulfill the medical needs of Nigeria, with Indian pharmaceutical companies playing a major role in the country’s health delivery. Among the companies that are working to bring about an improvement in the sector include Chi Pharmaceuticals and Cipla-Evans Pharmaceuticals, as well as several exporting companies that are not involved locally.”

In addition, he said, “there are also hospitals and diagnostic centres from India that are currently operating in Nigeria, including Mecure Diagnostic Centers and Vedic Hospitals (established in Nigeria in 2013 with support from India’s Manipal Health Enterprises), both in the commercial capital Lagos and Primus International Super Specialty Hospital in the capital, Abuja.”

Following the success of some of the Indian companies already in Nigeria, Bickersteth said, “other Indian players are planning to establish their footprint in Nigeria. This has been partly due to the efforts of the Nigerian ministry of tourism and the Indian High Commission which have organised healthcare events to strengthen the partnership in the healthcare sector between the two countries.”

“Few Indian hospital chains also provide training to Nigerian doctors on specialist medical procedures, thereby improving patient care in Nigeria. For example, around 100 doctors of Abuja University Teaching Hospital were recently trained by medical experts from the Apollo Hospitals in India,” Bickersteth added.

He said, “a number of healthcare organizations are also planning to establish hospitals in the country. For instance, First Rivers Hospital had teamed up with two Indian facilities – Ruby Hall Clinic and Trans-Medical Healthcare Limited – to provide collaborative medical services.”

In addition, a group of professionals in Anambra state are planning to partner with some Indian medical specialists to establish a 200-bedded world-class hospital in Awka city.

Bickersteth said, “under construction is a charitable eye hospital in Lagos in collaboration with India’s Indo Eye-Care Foundation and Rotary Club of Lagos-Palmgrove Estate with an investment of $2.7 million that will facilitate surgery of eye related ailments.”

“The Apollo Hospital group has opened telemedicine centres in Nigeria and recently it partnered with Airtel Nigeria to provide video consultation with doctors to Airtel Nigeria’s premier customers,” Bickersteth said, adding the Apollo group has partnered with Sanofi for diabetes management and is planning to replicate its Apollo Sugar Clinics concept in Nigeria.

He said, “Fortis Malar Hospital is planning to launch telemedicine centres in Nigeria,while the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital is also planning to establish multi-specialty facility in Nigeria in its efforts to expand its overseas market.”

(Francis Kokutse IANS)

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Instagram Likely to Expand its Private Like Counts Test Globally

'Restrict' was also a feature recently announced to protect your account from unwanted interactions

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Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are displayed on an iPhone, March 13, 2019, in New York. VOA

Instagram on Thursday announced to expand its Private Like Counts test globally, including in India.

In the test, you can still see your likes by tapping on the liker list, but others will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.

Likewise, you will not be able to see how many likes others’ posts have received.

Vishal Shah, Vice President of Product, Instagram, said that if you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own.

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FILE – The Instagram icon is displayed on a mobile screen in Los Angeles. VOA

“While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community,” Shah said in a statement.

The test began in Canada in May 2019 and expanded to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Brazil, Ireland and Italy in July this year.

Also Read: Rapper Badshah has Newfound Respect for Actors, Filmmakers After Acting Debut

The roll-out of this test comes close on the heels of the recent ‘Instagram Experience’ organised in Mumbai where an ‘Unlabel’ content series was announced in partnership with Yuvaa, a youth media platform, featuring young Indians challenging stereotypes to be their authentic selves.

‘Restrict’ was also a feature recently announced to protect your account from unwanted interactions. (IANS)