Jan. 30, 2022


Rajeev Bhandari

Nigeria

Rajeev Bhandari

CEO, Evercare hospital Lekki

By focusing on constant innovation, patient safety, excellence, and outstanding clinical outcomes, Evercare Hospital Lekki seeks to eventually position Nigeria as a leading destination for inbound medical tourism.

BIO

Rajeev Bhandari is a senior management professional with over 25 years of sales, marketing, strategy, distribution, and operations expertise. He received an undergraduate degree in business/commerce from Delhi University and an MBA in business administration and management from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Paris. He started his career as branch head-Chandigarh and Ludhiana in Oriflame, later becoming head, sales, and operation/corporate communications at Modicare in India. Prior to joining Evercare Hospital Lekki in 2020 as CEO, he held the position of CEO at Lagoon Hospitals. Before joining Lagoon, Bhandari spent over seven years in Fortis Healthcare. He is a co-founder of a healthcare start-up called WellScience and served as its COO.


What led you to enter the Nigerian market and why now?

Evercare Hospital Lekki is a member of the Evercare Group, an integrated healthcare delivery platform operating in growth markets across Africa and South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Nigeria. The Evercare Group, with a focus on emerging markets across Africa and South Asia, has Nigeria as its second investment in Africa following Kenya. The establishment of this facility comes at a critical time for the local and international community as we are well positioned to address the gap that exists in the Nigerian healthcare sector. With 165 beds in a single location, it provides healthcare services at scale.

What is your funding model?

Evercare Hospital Lekki is owned by the Evercare Group. The Evercare Group is wholly owned by the Evercare Health Fund, a USD1-billion fund comprised of the world's leading development finance institutions and other impact investors around the world and managed by TPG Capital.

What does your slogan "Transforming healthcare" mean to you?

Transforming healthcare is at the core of our mission, which is enabling our local communities to thrive by providing patient-focused care, with an unparalleled patient experience via an impact-driven model. We also aim to constantly innovate and ensure delivery of best-in-class standards of patient safety, clinical excellence, and outstanding clinical outcomes with a long-term vision to position Nigeria as a leading destination for in-bound medical tourism.

What are the main challenges in setting up in Nigeria?

One of the major challenges remains the brain drain that plagues the sector. Nigeria with over 40% physician migration, is one of the leading African sources of foreign-born physicians. With our purpose-built infrastructure, best-in-class equipment, and focus on quality metrics that meet international standards, we are focusing our efforts on attracting critical medical talent back to Nigeria from the diaspora. In addition, a Price Waterhouse Coopers (2016) report ranks Nigeria as one of the top contributors to the global medical tourism spend estimated at USD1-1.5 billion annually, with thousands of patients travelling abroad annually for healthcare services. Evercare Hospital Lekki seeks to reverse this trend by making Nigeria a destination for inbound medical tourism from across the West Africa region and beyond. Another key challenge remains the high duties and levies imposed on the sector. We recommend some form of tax breaks and duty exemptions offered on healthcare investments and equipment to aid the growth and development of the industry and bring about the needed and desired change in the healthcare delivery and infrastructure.

How would you assess doing business in the healthcare sector in Nigeria?

As with all markets, there are pros and cons to running a business effectively. Nigeria is recognized as one of the world's major investment destinations and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, the Nigerian healthcare sector still has its unique challenges, which include inadequate funding, high import dependency, medical brain drain, low insurance penetration, and many more. However, Evercare Hospital Lekki through our scale, platform access, and innovative blended financing solutions seeks to over time drive down the cost of healthcare delivery for its patients, thereby increasing accessibility to quality healthcare.

How much of a challenge is the exchange rate in the healthcare business?

The heavy dependency on imported equipment and consumer goods, the high exchange rates, and economic volatility all significantly influence our healthcare industry. The depreciation of the naira consequently makes the cost of importing goods more expensive, which in turn may affect certain decisions. However, Evercare Hospital Lekki has partnered with the world's leading manufacturers and suppliers to ensure that high-quality equipment, consumables, and drugs are consistently available to our patients.

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