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mPharma Acquires Majority Stake in Nigeria’s HealthPlus

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HealthPlus Online Pharmacy Services

By Adedapo Adesanya 

mPharma, one of Africa’s healthtech companies, has acquired the majority stake in HealthPlus, the leading pharmacy chain in Nigeria.

This happened as mPharma and the former investor, Alta Semper, signed an agreement leading to the acquisition of a majority stake in the HealthPlus Group.

The Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of mPharma, Mr Gregory Rockson, stated that the acquisition is in line with the company’s mission to build an Africa that is in good health by delivering life-changing healthcare services and drugs to improve health outcomes for patients.

He stated that the acquisition of the HealthPlus Pharmacy chain by mPharma complements mPharma’s deep commitment to increasing patient access to affordable and quality healthcare in Nigeria.

“mPharma is deepening its long-standing commitment to Africa by reimagining primary healthcare in some of the most vulnerable communities on the continent. We continue to transform community pharmacies into primary care centers to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to all patients so they can live not just longer but healthier lives. We are optimistic about the future of healthcare for Nigerians through the acquisition of HealthPlus,” said Mr Rockson.

In her remarks on the acquisition, Mr Afsane Jetha, co-founder and CEO of Alta Semper Capital, said: “We are delighted about HealthPlus’ partnership with mPharma. We have a strong conviction in mPharma’s strategy of revolutionizing primary care across Africa and believe mPharma is the ideal steward for HealthPlus’s next chapter of growth.

“We believe mPharma’s vision is consistent with that of HealthPlus’s shareholders and employees, and we are enthusiastic to support the business through a relationship with mPharma going forward.”

While mPharma plans to continue to keep and strengthen HealthPlus as Nigeria’s leading pharmacy brand in Nigeria, the acquisition will also provide expansion opportunities for mPharma within Nigeria and a platform to expand mPharma’s Mutti pharmacy retail footprint across the continent through its fast-growing QualityRx program.

As part of the new phase, the HealthPlus pharmacy chain will also launch Mutti, mPharma’s health membership programme, which will provide both existing and new customers with discounts, interest-free “heal-now-pay-later” plans, free health screenings, and other primary care services.

By combining HealthPlus pharmacies with mPharma’s growing portfolio of partner Mutti pharmacies and GoodHealth shops (PPMVs),mPharma’s network will grow from 224 to over 320 health facilities in Nigeria and will provide care to more than 100,000 Nigerians each month.

Powered by mPharma’s proprietary Bloom software, HealthPlus will also provide patients access to affordable primary care services within its pharmacies, in addition to affordable and quality medications it currently retails across 12 states in Nigeria.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Health

Agusto Foresees More Foreign Investments in Nigeria’s Healthcare System

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Nigeria's healthcare system

By Adedapo Adesanya

Global research firm, Agusto & Co, has forecast that an increased foreign interest will drive growth in Nigeria’s healthcare system, especially through the acquisition and establishment of health facilities in the medium term.

Agusto said in a report that these foreign investments would help the country bridge the healthcare infrastructure deficit estimated at $82 million.

According to data, Nigeria is largely underfunded in terms of its health system and, as a result, is faced with a significant infrastructure gap.

The industry is currently challenged by outbound medical tourism, deteriorating medical infrastructure, low government budget allocation, and poor compensation for public healthcare workers, all of which have prompted many skilled medical practitioners to relocate overseas in search of better employment opportunities.

In addition, brain drain is also contributing to this as approximately 2,000 doctors leave the country each year, and at least 266 Nigerian doctors were licensed in the United Kingdom between June and July 2022, according to the National Medical Association (NMA).

Nigeria has also not been playing its part, with the health sector receiving only about 4 per cent (N546.98 billion) and 5 per cent (N724.6 billion) of the total budgetary allocation in Nigeria’s 2021 and 2022 budgets. This undershoots the 15 per cent expected by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and African  Union (AU).

Agusto noted that the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020 saw an increase in diagnostic facilities and, albeit insufficiently, an increase in public investments in the health sector with efforts from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Despite this, there remains more to be done, especially with the country’s large population facing a high burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, resulting in many people constantly seeking treatment.

Foreign investors have found the Nigerian healthcare system to be an attractive investment opportunity, and in 2021, the healthcare industry attracted around $2.3 million in foreign direct investments (FDI).

For instance, in February 2021, Evercare Group, through its emerging market health fund, established Evercare Hospital Lekki, a 165-bed multispecialty tertiary care facility.

Agusto predicts that the industry’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) will reach N480.6 billion by 2022 from N470.5 billion, based on the country’s high birth rate and the spread of communicable diseases as well as other common ailments such as malaria and respiratory tract infection.

It also expects that a lower rate of outbound medical tourism, as a result of the naira’s continued depreciation, will boost the industry’s contribution to GDP in the medium term.

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Health

Delta-9 THC: A Guide to its Effects

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Delta-9 THC

Delta-9 THC has been the most studied cannabinoid. THC has been proven to have pain-relieving and anti-nausea properties. However, research on its neuroprotective and depression-fighting qualities is still ongoing.

INDUCES EUPHORIA

Many generations of cannabis users have embraced the plant’s mood-enhancing properties, Delta-9 THC. Intoxication with cannabis is unlike any other substance, as it absorbs the mind and body into feelings of joy, relaxation and delight. These euphoric feelings can have a lasting impact on our system. A 2016 study about aggression and cannabis consumption revealed that cannabis decreased aggressive feelings, while alcohol increased them.

ANTINAUSEA PROPERTIES

The well-documented anti-nausea properties of Delta-9 THC are well documented. This was one the first medical benefits that were identified in cannabis. It was established in the 1970s, and 80s. Since 1984, high-thc cannabis strains were prescribed to patients with cancer. It was originally used to treat radiotherapy-induced nausea. Patients today still benefit from THC. The only FDA-approved THC medication is those that treat nausea in patients with cancer.

STIMULATE

The munchies, or an increased hunger feeling after cannabis consumption, is one of the most common side effects. This can be beneficial for people with low appetite. In 2018, a study found that THC increases appetite hormones, including ghrelin (and leptin), and does not affect insulin levels. This is a positive sign for obesity and eating disorders.

ADDICTION TREATMENT

Although it may seem counterproductive to swap a beer for a preroll, THC can help decrease alcoholism and other drug addictions. Legalizing THC does not only reduce alcohol sales but THC intake increases an individual’s chances of success in treatment for opioid addiction. A 2017 study of animals showed that cannabis administration reduced heroin consumption.

NEUROPROTECTIVE PROPERTIES

Delta-9 THC, like other cannabinoids works with the endocannabinoid systems to promote homeostasis. This cannabinoid acts in neuronal cultures of the brain, as an antioxidant. It also encourages neurogenesis (creating more neurons). Delta-9 THC is able to reduce muscle spasms for patients with multiple sclerosis, and slow down the nervous system degradation for patients with Parkinson’s. This is a significant development for patients with neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

ANTIDEPRESSANT

A 2020 study showed that almost all 1,819 patients experienced temporary relief from depressive symptoms following cannabis consumption. The authors point out that other studies have shown that cannabis consumption can cause depression. However, this is dependent on the individual and may vary from person to person. If it works for your situation, you can use mother nature’s resources.

Delta-9 THC – How Do You Get it?

THC, like all cannabinoids comes from cannabigerolic (CBGa), which is the “mother” cannabinoids. From CBGa, the compound undergoes an enzymatic reaction called cannabidiolic acid synthase (CBDAS) to become THCa or tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. The heat process of decarboxylation causes THCa to break down to form Delta-9 THC.

Can Delta-9 get you high?

Yes, Delta-9, the most prominent cannabinoid responsible intoxicating and psychoactive effects of cannabis, will make you feel “high”.

What Does Delta-9 Do in the body?

Delta-9 THC is absorbed into your lungs through the gastrointestinal tract. It then enters the bloodstream via your bloodstream. Depending on how the drink was taken, it may interact with your Endocannabinoid System to create intoxicating “high”.

The Endocannabinoid System

The receptors of the endocannabinoid systems are located throughout the body. They help maintain homeostasis by improving biological functions. The ECS is essential for our health.

CB1 receptors are the primary receptors of the ECS. CB2 is the secondary. The brain, nervous system, liver and spinal cord are the main locations of CB1 receptors. CB1 can bind with both the natural cannabinoids and Delta-9 THC.

The delta 9 products that carried at Pure CBD Now come from the same top-rated, reputable brands that you’ve become familiar with over the years.

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Health

Heritage Bank Gives Succour to Sickle Cell Persons in Nigeria

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sickle cell persons

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A financial institution in Nigeria, Heritage Bank Plc, has partnered with a non-profit organisation, Gail Sickle Initiative, to ameliorate the burden of sickle cell persons in the country.

This is part of the lender’s corporate social initiatives aimed at providing support to people in need, especially sickle cell patients.

An Executive Director at Heritage Bank, Ms Osepiribo Ben-Willie, disclosed that it has become of concern to the bank to help alleviate the burden of over 40 million Nigerians, who are healthy carriers of the sickle cell gene and the 150,000 children born with the disorder.

According to her, this is by far the largest burden of sickle cell disorder around the world, especially in Nigeria, and most of these children die in childhood from lack of access to early diagnosis and proper care.

“At Heritage Bank, health is a priority; that is why we want to continue partnering and supporting the NGO, Gail Sickle Initiative on welfare support, early detection and improved treatment and proper care,” she said.

Ms Ben-Willie further affirmed that Heritage Bank, in partnership with Gail Sickle Initiative, is synergizing to create significant awareness and support for individuals affected by the disease.

On her part, the convener of Gail Sickle Initiative, Ms Oluwafemi Ajayi, disclosed that with the support from Heritage Bank, the NGO has gone beyond its support to her members, whom she refers to as winning warriors, to supporting and donating to people living with the sickle cell disease across the country.

According to her, as an organisation that supplies supplements to winning warriors, the Gail Sickle Initiative partnered with Heritage Bank and with the funds provided went beyond the organisation’s members and reached out to other winning warriors who have no parental support and to those in various hospital to give them supplements and offset the bill of some who were unable to pay their bills.

Ms Ajayi further stated that Sickle Cell disorder poses various challenges to the carriers like health challenges, stigmatisation, and economic challenge, amongst others.

She said the Gail Sickle Initiative focused on how to cover every aspect of these challenges by birthing the Sicklepreneur, this aids the warriors to be trained so they can acquire relevant skills and equip themselves to be independent. Therefore, apart from trying to eradicate sickle cell disease, they ensure that the stigmatisation label on the warriors does not result in depression for them.

She encouraged other corporate organisations to learn from Heritage Bank’s sterling example to the winning warriors by supporting the initiative and further contributed to the back-to-school project with relevant items donated.

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