Press Releases

IFC and Hygeia Partner to Deliver High-Quality, Affordable Health Care in Nigeria

In Washington, D.C.
Ludi Joseph

Tel. +1(202) 473 7700


In Lagos

Frank Ajilore

Tel. +234 1 262 6455


In Johannesburg

Desmond Dodd

Tel. +27 11 731 3053


Lagos, Nigeria/Washington D.C., January 30, 2007 — In a project that will expand health coverage and deliver high-quality health care at affordable cost, the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will make a local currency investment in Nigerian health care provider, Hygeia Nigeria Limited.  

IFC’s loan of 390 million Nigerian naira ($3 million) will support the upgrade of Hygeia’s hospitals in Apapa and Ikeja and the reconstruction of a third hospital, on Victoria Island. The project will increase the overall capacity of Hygeia’s hospitals and help expand its information technology infrastructure to its health maintenance organization (HMO).

The need for high-quality medical services is acute in Nigeria where 74 percent of health expenditure is private, mainly in the form of out-of-pocket payments—an inefficient system that impoverishes individuals with no health insurance. IFC’s support to Hygeia will widen access to health care and demonstrate best practice for administration and patient care throughout the medical community. In addition, Hygeia’s contribution to a sustainable HMO sector will support the country’s economic development and the health of its people.

Speaking at the signing in Abuja, Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President, said, “IFC is very happy to partner with Hygeia to raise the overall quality and accessibility of private medical services and deliver more affordable health care to a wider cross-section of people, including lower-income groups.”

This will be IFC’s first local currency loan in Nigeria and is structured using the swap market. IFC’s involvement will promote development of the long-term naira currency swap market. Long-term, local currency financing will benefit Nigerian companies that are key to economic development but do not wish to take foreign exchange risk. It will also enable IFC to support the federal government’s overall drive to encourage further private sector participation in the financing and provision of health services to Nigerians.

Fola Laoye, CEO of Hygeia, said, “This partnership recognizes Hygeia’s efforts to establish benchmarks of medical excellence and outstanding quality of service. IFC’s loan will help us bridge the gap in the delivery of medical services and realize our vision of emerging as a leading health care provider in West Africa.”

This is IFC’s second financing of Hygeia, following a 1999 investment to establish three clinics providing managed secondary care and to purchase new medical equipment for Lagoon Hospital in Apapa.  

The Ireland/IFC Technical Assistance Trust Fund is supporting Hygeia’s efforts to obtain accreditation for its hospitals from the Joint Commission International. In addition, an insurance risk expert is being hired to identify and manage the risks associated with Hygeia's HMO line of business.

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral provider of financing for private enterprise in developing countries. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in international financial markets, facilitates trade, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to businesses and governments. From its founding in 1956 through FY06, IFC has committed more than $56 billion of its own funds for private sector investments in the developing world and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. With the support of funding from donors, it has also provided more than $1 billion in technical assistance and advisory services. For more information, visit

About Hygeia Nigeria Ltd.

Hygeia Nigeria, Ltd., headquartered in Lagos, was founded in 1984 by the Elebute family as a multi-specialty hospital in Lagos. The company has evolved into an integrated health care services group with a health maintenance organization, three hospitals in Lagos, 25 worksite clinics, and a network of over 200 clinics across the country. Hygeia’s HMO is the largest and best established in the country, with over 20 successful years of operation and a strong reputation in the market. It has 200,000 members and is the only private Nigerian HMO with a program for voluntary counseling, testing, and treatment of HIV/AIDS.  Hygeia recently launched and commenced a community health care scheme with the Dutch Health Insurance Fund that will provide heavily subsidized HMO services to about 115,000 poor residents in the states of Lagos and Kwara. The company has also been selected to participate in the Global Fund’s program to scale up HIV care and treatment in Nigeria through supervision, training, and capacity building.