The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has appealed to Nigerians to seek medical care in the country.
This is just as he commended Duchess Hospital, a purpose-built and state-of-the-art facility among others with competent specialists and services in the country.
He made this appeal during a media tour of Duchess Hospital in Ikeja area of Lagos State on Tuesday. “There is no need for anyone to go abroad,” he emphasised.
“This is indeed a purpose-built, state-of-the-art, 100-bed hospital 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.”
While noting that this visit is in continuation of their media tour of development projects in all sectors of the economy and all facets of life, Mohammed conceded that it is also to showcase what this administration has achieved.
“Even where the project is private-sector driven, the Federal Government has either provided the enabling environment or, in some cases, supported it with funding,” says the minister.
The federal government, he continued, through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bank of Industry provided financial support for Duchess International Hospital.
According to Mohammed, this is not new. He, however, reminded newsmen that in the wake of COVID-19, the CBN set up the N100 billion Healthcare Sector Intervention Fund now expanded to N200 billion. “This was to provide credit support for the healthcare sector through long-term, low-cost financing.”
He described it as the Federal Government’s Intervention in the Healthcare Sector through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
“The NSIA has invested a total of $22.5 million in two diagnostic centers in Kano and Umuahia ($5.5 million each) and the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre in Lagos ($11.5 million). The NSIA is also committed to building a new quaternary hospital in Abuja,” he added.
“The essence of these financial interventions and projects in the critical healthcare sector is to fast-track the evolution of world class healthcare facilities like this 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.”
While citing available records that Nigerians spend between $1.2 and $1.6 billion on medical tourism, he bemoaned that it’s a huge drain on the nation’s foreign reserves.
Meanwhile, to retain doctors, the minister recommended that the healthcare facilities must be equipped to world standard level and doctors and other healthcare workers must be adequately remunerated.
Hence, he applauded facilities like Duchess International as veritable tools for job creation while also attracting medical tourists from across the world.
More world class healthcare facilities like Duchess Hospital coming on stream, Nigeria is set to become a destination for medical tourists, instead of having our citizens travel yearly and spending over N500 billion for medical tourism.
Speaking also, the CEO of Duchess Hospital, Dr. Adetokunbo Shitta-Bey, projected their vision to be Africa’s favourite Hospital.
Its goal remains to reverse medical tourism by winning the trust of “our clientele and of the community by demonstrating competence, reliability, affordability and empathy”.
Shitta-Bey explained also that currently they are setting out to demonstrate that healthcare is delivered at an international standard that is affordable and available in Nigeria.
The Senior Officer Coordinator, Wellness Centre, Duchess Hospital, Dr. Yewande Adeshida, left the media tour.
Newsmen were taken to units including the Cardiology centre including physiotherapy room, Eye care, Learning and development centre, ENT, Surgical and Gynecology Ward, fully-automated lab, Intensive and Critical care unit.
Others are the Endoscopy unit, Women and Children ward, Dialysis Centre, Dental Unit, Pharmacy, Play area for children, Surgical Theatre (Modular and automated), Radiology Dept called the eye of medicine, Emergency Room, and the Duchess Cafe.