hospital will serve as a regional model for how PPP
projects can improve clinical care and expand the
capacity of health systems.
Before the facility even begins accepting patients,
the project offered lessons learned to public health
practitioners. From the start, the project team
encountered unexpected changes in the original real
estate plot and public-side funding levels. “The private side of the PPP had to act very quickly to raise a
significant amount of money,” Mr. Cohick says.
Given these unexpected developments, flexibility
and teamwork were essential. “The most important
thing wasn’t the plan; it was the planning,” he says.
UCL Healthcare Services proved especially valuable:
“When the project’s funding structure changed, UCL
coordinated with its partners to effectively approach
banks and investors—both within and outside of
Nigeria—in response to the challenge.”
Local partners will remain critical going forward.
Stakeholders want local Nigerian leaders to be integral
to the future of the hospital and Cross River State’s
healthcare system. For that reason, the project team
has worked hard to involve the local medical commu-
nity. Because the facility is a referral hospital—it will
provide secondary specialist care to patients referred
by primary physicians—strong connections to doc-
tors and other medical professionals in the area will
generate the patients it needs to succeed.
This kind of on-the-ground support is especially
important when the project sponsor is a government with regular leadership changes due to term
limits. “Politicians don’t always honor the commitments made by their predecessors, so continuity of
relationships is really important,” Mr. Cohick says.
The quality of care provided by the new hospital
will ultimately be the measure of benefits realized
by the project, however. To bolster that quality, the
project team took a phased approach to launching
medical services. Although the hospital eventually
will specialize in pediatric health, specialty surgery
and maternal care, it is launching with just ambulatory healthcare and supporting diagnostic services.
After reviews to confirm mastery of those operations, the team will implement additional specialty
services throughout 2015 and beyond.
“Ideally the triggers for launches won’t be a date
on the calendar, but measurable milestones of how
well we’re doing things,” Mr. Cohick says. “That
allows us to start small, get the quality right, and
then expand our volume from there.”
be a date on
how well we’re
A rendering of the Calabar