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We need more of this hospital

By Joshua Ocheja

I am curious. I am a researcher. And over time I have come to the point where identifying good stuff comes easily. This time around, my area of research was the Nizamiye Hospital located in the heart of the federal capital territory and estimated to have gulped a whopping $30 million. Upon, realizing this, my instincts were ignited, and my curious mind went to work, to unravel that medical facility in the heart of Abuja that is the rave of the moment.

And alas, I wasn’t disappointed. The Nizamiye hospital could be regarded as one of the best medical facilities in Nigeria. Why?   I had reasons to interact with people who have used the services at the hospital, I was taken on a tour of its facilities, and I also interacted with doctors, nurses, and other auxiliary staff. And I was more than impressed.

A ward in a hospital

Without mincing words, I would say Nizamiye Hospital is one of the best things that happened to the Nigerian health sector. The most striking part of the hospital is the fact that it has a resident open heart surgery team lead by a renowned cardiovascular surgeon who is credited to have performed over 15,000 open heart surgeries with almost 99% success rate, according to what I gathered.

With such a facility in Nigeria, I wonder why Nigerians still travel abroad for medical treatment, especially India. This is on the heels that an estimated $1 billion is spent on medical tourism annually by Nigeria. Pause for a minute and imagine what happens when 1 billion dollars leave our economy. Also, pause and imagine what will happen to our economy if it is buoyed by $1 billion.

I am sure your mind is running riot with thoughts. But that is understandable and why more of such investments of this nature ought to be encouraged by the relevant authorities in the country.

It also suffices to mention that an aspect of the research required I took a sample of private hospitals in the Federal Capital Territory and graded such facilities in three areas namely, ambiance, medical equipment, and human resources.

And guess what? Nizamiye hospital came out tops. I say this with all sense of sincerity that regarding ambiance, the hospital ranked almost a 100%. The hospital could easily pass for a hotel when you walk the laminated corridors; run a finger along the crisp bed sheets stretched tightly over neat beds, and breathe in the clean air of a world-class medical establishment with manicured gardens outside and Turkish and Nigerian nurses in immaculate uniforms inside all attest to a professionally-sound facility approaching the peak of its powers.

Regarding medical equipment, you can’t help but marvel at the gleaming medical equipment carefully mounted in their corners. It also has four hi-tech operating theatres, four-bed adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU), four incubators for Neonatal ICU, and a four-bed dialysis center and others too numerous to mention. Little wonder why it cost an estimated $30 million? It is worth every bit of the figure invested in the facility.

The various departments are manned by Turkish and Nigerian consultants. I also learned that one of the policies of the hospital is to ensure that a young Nigerian doctor who hasn’t attained the consultant cadre is attached to Turkish doctors, who have achieved the consultant status so the Nigerian doctor can learn and be encouraged towards reaching the consultant cadre too. This is also the case with other auxiliary departments. And with this, you could easily see that teamwork reigns supreme. Nizamiye hospital is indeed a worthy investment if you ask me.

In an editorial by one of the leading newspapers in Nigeria titled “Fitting Lessons for the health sector,” published November, 3, 2017, it stated that “when Mrs. Aisha Buhari, the wife of the president, said recently that when she needed health care the only hospital she could trust in Abuja was one “established by foreigners in and out 100 percent”, she was said to be referring to the Nizamiye Hospital”. This was a profound statement that lends credence to the quality of the Nizamiye Hospital.

It went further to state that “The Nizamiye Hospital has, for instance, become a platform for first-class healthcare delivery within the federal capital and environ.” And this is the truth. If not, you would ask how it has been able to carry out 18 successful open heart surgeries, 17,000 medical surgeries, 550 angiographies, 57 emergency balloon, and 95 stent procedures all in the space of three years. If this is not a rare feat, I don’t know what to call it. I also learned that the hospital is one of the few hospitals in the country with a catheterization laboratory (Cath-Lab), MRI and CT scan machines all under one roof. I stand to be corrected.

In my considered opinion, I think critical stakeholders in the health sector that have had reasons to visit the Nizamiye hospital would attest to its readiness to provide world-class medical services to Nigerians. Nizamiye hospital represents a rebirth in the Nigerian health sector. I understand the honorable minister of health, Prof Isaac Adewole when he visited the hospital recently commended the owners, the Turkish First Surat Group of companies for believing in Nigeria to have invested in it.

The hospital, I learned is also actively involved in community service with over 400 free cataract surgeries to its credit under its medical outreach programme in rural communities in the FCT, and with plans to reach the 1,000 mark in the nearest future. The hospital also renders free medical check-up in public schools, orphanages and IDP camps in the FCT and its environs.

In a nutshell, I would wish that more Nizamiye Hospitals spring up in Nigeria. I believe good things can still happen in Nigeria. The Nizamiye Hospital is one of such examples, and I think the management of the First Surat group of companies deserves a special commendation from the relevant authorities in Nigeria. They have indeed done nobly.

*Ochaja is resident in Abuja Joshua stuff


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