12 February 2013

Nigeria: Firm Proposes U.S.$650 Million Abuja Medical City

A consortium has presented proposals to build Abuja Medical City, a $650 million multi-hospital complex for 1,687 beds, in the heart of the federal capital.

The AMC will include seven hospital areas, facilities and residences on more 121,285 square metres of land along Lugbe Road--between Abuja airport and the city, an area twice the size of the National Assembly complex and six times the National Stadium, according to consortium Ceinsa, which includes firms IBT, KMD Architects and Sucomex.

Details of the contractor-financed project were revealed in a presentation Ceinsa made to health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu in Abuja.

Ceinsa also projects AMC could benefit more than two million Nigerians and help redirect more than $500 million dollars lost to medical tourism back into Nigeria, according to Daniel Toledano of IBT/Ceinsa.

Ceinsa chairman Dumebi Kachikwu said the contractor-financed project could be completed in 24 months and begin operations in the final six months.

Chukwu said the turn-key project "fits in with the concept" of new designed city to mark the 100th anniversary of Nigeria's amalgamation. But he insisted government would be open to "competitive bidding", going by government procurement process to get "best value for money".

"Good politics for us"

AMC will sit 20km outside the city and 15km from the airport, said Marianna Yerak of KMD Architects, which desinged the complex.

The seven major hospital areas will include a trauma centre, a specialty hospital, amenities care pavilion, maternal and newborn institute, paediatric hospital, a centre for physiotherapy and rehabilitation, and a centre for ambulatory care.

By breakdown, AMC will have:

763 beds in trauma and speciality hospital

300 beds in amenities care pavilion

524 beds in wings for paediatrics as well as in institute for maternal and newborn

100 beds in physiotherapy and rehabilitation centre

41 operating rooms for inpatient care.

Dr Isioma Okoba, a doctor based in Atlanta, Georgia said the project would pool facilities and resources to "reach out to diasporal doctors and nurses to bring them back home."

It will also "raise resources through private pay and medical insurance," she noted. AMC could also run on research grants, medical training fees from affiliated teaching hospital, and medical equipment brand representatives

"If we have efficiency, we will be able to sustain the project," Okoba noted.

More than 70% of health spending comes from the pocket of Nigerians, and health insurance is still voluntary.

Federal government made no binding commitment regarding the proposal, which comes a day after the National Health Bill came up for discussion before the legislation.

But Chukwu expressed concern that apart from reversing medical tourism abroad, there was "need for more people within the country to be able to access the services."

"From the point of view of the minister, that is important. Otherwise it will also be seen as taking care of your own. That is not good politics for us."

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