The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed has explained the rationale behind Federal government's financial interventions and projects in the critical healthcare sector, saying it was to fast-track the evolvement of world-class healthcare facilities like the Duchess International Hospital in Lagos.
Addressing over 30 journalists drawn from the electronic, print and online media during a media tour of the Duchess International Hospital in Lagos, the minister disclosed that the Federal Government's Intervention in the Healthcare Sector through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) invested a total of $22.5 million in two diagnostic centres in Kano and Umuahia ($5.5 million each) and the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre in Lagos ($11.5 million).
Noting that the NSIA is also committed to building a new quaternary hospital in Abuja, Mohammed said with the establishment of Duchess International Hospital in Lagos, the huge drain caused by medical tourism the country's foreign reserves will reduce drastically.
He said hospital facilities in Lagos said no Nigerian irrespective of status has any need to go abroad for medical treatment, adding that there was a need for Nigerian doctors abroad to come home and render services in the newly established hospitals in the country.
Mohammed said with 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.
He further recalled that available records show that Nigerians spend between USD1.2 and USD1.6 billion on medical tourism.
"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.
Launching the hospital's new programme - "World Class Affordable Healthcare Programme", the Chief Executive Officer, Duchess International Hospital, Dr. Adetokunbo Shitta-Bey announced that with only N5,000 a patient is registered in the hospital while it takes another N5,000 to see any consultant in the hospital.
He said the mission of the hospital was to reverse medical tourism by delivering the highest standards of care, using the most advanced technology and treatments to give patients the fastest, most convenient access to the best medical expertise available anywhere in the world.
Shitta-Bey said the Hospital was a purpose-built, state-of-the-art, 100-bed hospital, driving to reverse medical tourism, reduce the cost of access to essential hospital services, as well as provide access to quality world-class healthcare.