Nigeria’s healthcare system is currently ranked 187th out of 190 countries by the World Health Organization (WHO). This is no doubt a very chilling statistic and a stark reflection of several years of deprioritisation of the health sector. Given that quality healthcare is a fundamental human right and access to a good healthcare system is a vital necessity in every community, there is an urgent need to revitalize the sector especially in the face of emerging threats like the Covid-19 pandemic.
Consequently, several private sector organisations are taking the charge of revamping the sector often through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs. Taking the pole position in this all-important venture is Fidelity Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, who is investing heavily in the health sector through infrastructure development, medical outreach, and other initiatives.
Under the auspices of the Fidelity Helping Hands Programme (FHHP), the Bank which operates from over 200 branches across Nigeria, is reducing the health burden in its host communities. Through this multi-purpose CSR project, the bank has executed hundreds of healthcare-focused schemes around the country.
For instance, the Bank renovated a block of the maternity ward at the Onikan Health Centre in April 2021 and supplied other vital facilities to enhance the hospital’s mother-and-child care activities. Nurses were provided a workstation while the façade and interior of the building were repainted, floor tiles and air conditioners were rebuilt, and medical supplies were provided. In Iwollo, Enugu state, a similar program was carried out at the Ugwuike Health Centre. The health centre, which serves the Ugwuike village as well as four surrounding communities, including Owe and Okpogho, received a much-needed makeover as well as the supply of drug preservation equipment, beds, and delivery couches, amongst other much needed medical equipment.
Fidelity Bank has also left its mark on the lives of those affected by the crisis in northern Nigeria, where the quality of life has deteriorated considerably due to rising poverty levels and terrorism. With approximately three million internally displaced persons (IDPs) strewn across the North-Eastern area alone, the area faces an urgent humanitarian crisis. To support government’s efforts in ameliorating the situation, the bank donated relief items to IDPs in Taraba state in collaboration with the Hope Afresh Foundation, an initiative founded by the governor’s wife, Anna Darius Ishaku.
Fidelity Bank has no doubt set the tone for other financial services companies and private sector organisations, including NGOs, to develop Nigeria’s dwindling healthcare system. Given the urgency of the situation, there’s no better time to allocate resources in this all-important sector. After all, health, they say, is wealth.
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