By John Ighodaro
CALABARâ€”As part of efforts to develop medical tourism in Cross River, the state government and a consortium of US-based hospital development experts, Omma Health Care ILC and Rees Associates, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to do a feasibility, and build a world class state-of-the-art hospital valued at $6 million in Calabar.
Speaking after signing the MoU in Calabar, Governor Liyel Imoke described the occasion as an important day to commence the realization of the stateâ€™s vision of providing an affordable health care delivery service to its citizenry.
Disclosing that the occasion also marked the commencement of a comprehensive health programme in Cross River State, the governor said the state intends to remodel its health facilities and services through many improved patterns and that it was the desire of government to provide first class health services to its citizens and beyond, and expects full compliance to international standards.
The Governor explained that the state took time to identify competent partners that share its vision based on its competence and capacity, stating that they intend to provide services which today are being provided outside Nigeria.
He expressed optimism that on completion the state health programmeÂ Â would ensure that Nigerians no longer travel outsideÂ for medical treatment whenÂ the hospital becomes operational as it will be of importance to not only Cross Riverians but also Nigerians and the West African Sub region.
Imoke said construction work will commence immediately and will not stop until operation commences and it is expected that medical professionals recruited to use facilities at the hospital will be the best hands in the country and beyond.
Mrs Lynn Brown, President Omma Health Care, expressed delight for having brought together their highly experienced team of health care professionals to develop a modern, state of the art hospital in Calabar, adding that it will further strengthen the positive working relationship between Nigeria and United states .
Mr. Stephen Larson, Vice President Rees Associates, disclosed that the company has over 34 years experience in hospital Architecture and in partnership with Omma Healthcare, Rees was able to plan, programme and design a highly efficient and functional US Standard Hospital that simultaneously addresses the immediate health care needs of the working class people of Baghdad and Turkey while allowing for further growth.
Larson said the signing of the MOU began the success story of Cross River based on their expertise which has covered more than 30 countries.
Dr Edet Ikpi, Commissioner for Health, disclosed that the proposed hospital valued at $6 million which will be located close to the Calabar Energy City , will be constructed within a three year period. He said on completion, it will set the trail for development within the South-South geopolitical zone for medical tourism.