President Goodluck Jonathan said on Tuesday that efforts would be made to equip military hospitals in Nigeria to meet the health needs of top government functionaries and their families. The president said this when he inaugurated the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) Dialysis Centre in Abuja. Jonathan commended the agency for establishing the centre and placing it at the disposal of both military and civilian population.
“We will work with you and assist your establishment to succeed. “In most countries, the president used to take treatment in the military hospital. In most countries, the president and his family attend the military hospital whenever they are ill. “So, they expect that the military hospital should be among the top hospitals in the country and that should be what we should aspire for.
“We must properly equip them and make sure that they render the services that they should render. “The military and security agencies are people who everybody has to respect, because they work hard for us to sleep; they keep awake for others to sleep. “And for that reason, their health challenges should be a burden to the nation and we should equip our hospitals to the extent that they can meet the needs of these people.
“Although, this is a small complex, but dialysis is a key thing. So, we thank you for your vision, you and your officers that made this possible.’’ Jonathan said that a lot of Nigerians had kidney-related ailments, while some had lost their lives due to lack of dialysis machines. “Whenever you looked at the television screen there were always complaints about people who have kidney problems.
“The first level of intervention is dialysis before you talk about kidney transplant, which is more expensive.’’ The president said that before now, dialysis centres were quite few in the country, as a number of people who would have lived a little longer died prematurely. According to him, his chief personal physician has inspected the centre which is already working with the State House medical team in the provision of medicare.
Jonathan also said that the agency would continue to partner with other agencies and the international community to tackle the security challenges facing the country Earlier, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Rear Admiral Gabriel Okoi, said that the need for the centre arose due to the large number of Nigerians who required treatment for Kidney ailments. He said that the centre had four machines which were being operated by 10 members of staff.
Okoi stated that the military hospital was opened to both serving and retired military personnel as well as members of the public. “Pursuant to the realisation of these core values, staff welfare has become one of the priorities of this organisation, hence the establishment of this dialysis centre. “The centre will no doubt compliment the efforts of the agency’s hospital to further deliver quality healthcare services to the staff.
“In addition to this major motivational objective, the DIA’s Hospital is also highly patronised by serving and retired military personnel of all ranks. “Above all, at present, there is no defence healthcare facility providing dialysis services for those in Abuja against the background of a scaring statistics of ailments that require dialysis treatment. “The number of people expected to undergo dialysis treatment is on the increase.
“For instance, available statistics indicate that 36.8 million Nigerians, about 23 per cent of the population are suffering from various degrees of kidney disease. “With this failure, it means that one in every seven Nigerians is suffering from one form of kidney disorder or another. “Moreso, the WHO statistics predicted that by the year 2020, the burden of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases would have increased by 130 per cent in Africa alone.’’
Okoi said the centre would run 24-hour service, adding that the Chinese Government had donated an ambulance to support the centre. He commended the president for supporting the military in its fight against insurgency.