Nigeria Witnessing Massive Healthcare Infrastructure Development- Minister

Joseph Bakare

Massive healthcare infrastructure development is currently springing up across the country which according to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, curb medical tourism abroad, conserve foreign reserves and create jobs.

Mohammed, believed that with the establishment of world class healthcare facilities in Nigeria, the country is set to become a destination for medical

tourism, in addition to reversing the brain drain in the health

sector.

The Minister, who spoke after a media tour of Duchess International

Hospital in Lagos, said the world class healthcare

facilities springing up in Nigeria will also

“Today, we are here at the Duchess International Hospital. During the

guided tour, I am sure you all saw that this is indeed a

purpose-built, state-of-the-art, 100-bed hospital, which is aimed at

delivering the highest standard of healthcare, using the most advanced

technology and treatments to provide Nigerians with the best medical

expertise available anywhere in the world,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said that according to available records, Nigerians

spend between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion on medical tourism

annually, a development he described as a huge drain on the country’s

foreign reserves.

He expressed delight that many of the doctors at Duchess International

Hospital, a subsidiary of Reddington Hospital, are Nigerians who had

trained and worked abroad, but who have now decided to return home

because of the availability of healthcare facilities with standard

equipment and a good work environment.

The Minister said the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of

Nigeria and the Bank of Industry, provided financial support for

Duchess International Hospital, as part of its intervention in the

health sector.

”This is not new. Recall that in the wake of Covid-19, the CBN set up

the N100 billion Healthcare Sector Intervention Fund, now expanded to

N200 billion, to provide credit support for the healthcare sector

through long-term, low-cost financing,” he said, listing other

interventions by the Federal Government, through the Nigerian

Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), as including a total of $22.5

million which was spent in establishing two diagnostic centres in Kano

and Umuahia ($5.5 million each) and the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre in

Lagos ($11.5 million)

“The essence of these financial interventions and projects in the

critical healthcare sector is to fast-track the evolvement of world

class healthcare facilities like the Duchess International Hospital.

With that, we can conserve our foreign reserves, earn foreign exchange

for the country, create jobs, reverse brain drain, become a

destination for medical tourists and also ensure affordable and

standard healthcare for Nigerians,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed commended the management of the hospital

for making their world class services affordable and accessible to

ordinary Nigerians, particularly with the launching of the ‘World Class

Affordable Healthcare Programme that coincided with the visit of the

Minister and the over 30 journalists who accompanied him on the tour.

“With what we have seen here today and the programme that has just

been launched, Nigerians can now get access to affordable and world

class treatment in whatever is ailing them in many areas, including

emergency medicine, women’s health, paediatric care, cardiovascular

medicine, kidney dialysis, dental treatment, eye care, etc,” he said.

The Minister said the visit to the hospital was in continuation of the

media tour of the development projects of the Buhari Administration,

disclosing that in the past 40 days, he had taken the media on a tour

of the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Project as well as the

Dangote Fertilizer Company in Lagos; the Lekki Deep Seaport and the

Duchess Hospital, in addition to the tour of road, rail, bridge and

other projects across the country.

”The essence of these tours is to showcase what this Administration

has achieved in the various sectors. Even where the project is

private-sector driven, the Federal Government has either provided the

enabling environment or, in some cases, supported such projects with

funding,” he said.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital, Dr.

Tokunbo Shitta-Bey, who conducted the Minister round the hospital,

said the multi-specialist hospital, which is already attracting foreigners

coming for treatment, is poised to make its advanced

elite service affordable and accessible to Nigerians, who would pay

only N5,000 for registration and 5,000 for consultation.

He said the hospital, which was commissioned 22 Oct. 2021 by the Vice

President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, is committed to immediate and open

access to emergency and critical care services, as well as a wide

range of specialist-led services and treatment.

The Minister and his team were conducted round the various departments

of the hospital, including the Cardiology Centre, Eye care clinic,

Learning and Development Centre, ENT Department, Surgical and

Gynecology Ward, Fully-automated lab, Intensive and Critical care

unit, Endoscopy unit, Women and Children Ward, Dialysis Centre, Dental

Unit, Pharmacy, Surgical Theatre (Modular and automated), Radiology

Department and Emergency Room.

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