The Federal Government says it will partner with the Akwa Ibom Government on the operations of Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo, to stop Nigerians from seeking medical treatment abroad.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this promise on Saturday in Uyo while inspecting facilities at the Akwa Ibom government’s owned Ibom Specialist Hospital.
Adewole noted that with facilities at Ibom Specialist Hospital, medical tourism abroad can be reversed.
“Visiting the hospital complex today is an eye opener, there is no such complex like this anywhere in Nigeria,” the minister said.
He announced that with the proposed partnership, no Nigerian would be allowed to go abroad for treatment on government sponsorship from Jan. 2017.
“We will partner to make sure that it works and reverses medical tourism. People from Ghana and Togo can come to Nigeria for medical treatment.
“We will start using this facility, with this facility, no Nigerian will be allowed to go abroad for treatment,” Adewole said.
The minister warned medical doctors to desist from running a syndicate of sending people abroad for treatment for pecuniary interest.
Adewole, however, said that individuals could go abroad on their own expenses if they so wish but not on government sponsorship.
The minister said that the state owned Diagnostic Centre at Ikot Ekpene would be converted to Lasser Fever Diagnostic Centre.
He commended that state government for constructing the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) at Ikot Ekpene to help reduce the pressure on the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH).
Earlier, the minister and his entourage had paid a courtesy visit on the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel at Government House.
The governor had appealed for assistance from the Federal Government to make the state a healthcare tourism destination in Nigeria.
Emmanuel said that the state government had invested much in the health sector and would like the Federal Government to help boost the patronage of the Ibom Specialist Hospital.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this was the maiden visit of the minister to Akwa Ibom since his appointment last October.