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Sick people recover better at home than abroad — EXPERTS

By Chioma Obinna & Monsuru Olowoopejo

In a move to reduce the craving for medical tourism among Nigerians, Lagoon Hospitals, yesterday unveiled a world-class state-of-the-art  Critical Care Unit that would treat and manage medical issues relating to the brain, kidney, bladder and ureteric stones, spinal among others.

L-R: Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer, Hygeia Nigeria Limited, Mrs Lanre Sanusi; Executive Director, Hygeia Nigeria Limited, Mrs Fola Laoye; the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Titilayo Goncalves; General Manager, Enterprise Directorate, Bank of Industry, Mr Leonard Kange; CMD/Chief of Surgery, Hygeia Nigeria Limited, Dr Jimi Coker; a representative of NHIS, Mrs Aisha Haruna at the unveiling of Lagoon’s critical care and advanced urology, neurosurgery and dialysis services in Lagos recently.

The advanced urology, neurosurgery and dialysis parades the latest equipment including the Holmium Laser machine and accessories for the minimally invasive treatment of kidney and ureteric stones along with the treatment of an enlarged prostrate condition like the bipolar prostate resectoscope which is the first of its kind in Nigeria.

Unveiling the equipment yesterday in Lagos, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu said the massive investment by the hospital in such critical care areas would surely reduce medical tourism in Nigeria.

Sanwo-olu who was represented by the Permanent Secretary Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr Titilayo Goncalves said the establishment of the facility was a step in the right direction as it was geared towards making a significant investment in the latest medical technology in the provision of first-class health care services to Nigerians and other West African Countries.

Noting that Lagoon was a pioneer in advance medical care in Nigeria noted that the 12 bedded Intensive Care Unit has  Kinevo 900 operating microscope for Neurovascular surgery and minimally invasive surgery for skull base lesions.

Noting that government will support the private sector in any form of technological advancement, he said: “The state government is currently developing modern technology to tackle challenges hindering best practices in the health sector as this is the way to go for a megacity with a large population of people with a multi-ethnic and multi-religious background who are all desperate to earn a living.”

“With the kind of skills and equipment here there is no need for Nigerians to travel abroad for these treatments.

Giving insight into the services to be rendered by the critical care unit, the Medical Director, Dr Jimi Coker, said following the relocation of the specialist services from Apapa to Ikoyi, the hospital expanded its critical care unit to 12 beds that would provide multidisciplinary care for critically ill patients leveraging on the services of experienced intensive care physicians, surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, etc

“To complement these acute services, we have also established a dialysis unit for the treatment of kidney failure. These services will be carried out by skilled clinicians with several decades of international and local experience.”

“Our choice to invest hugely on these new technologies was born out of the need to fill the gaps within our countries health care sector. This is a strategic decision by our hospital with the aim to reduce medical tourism. The number of Nigerians leaving the country to seek such medical treatment abroad continues unabated with up to USD1 billion lost revenue to the Nigerian economy.”

Acknowledging the facility can only reduce medical tourism, he explained that one major benefit of the new critical care unit particularly for patients that underwent surgeries is the fact that recovery of patients are better at home where the patients have social and support structure.

On cost, he said quality healthcare is very expensive, hence, the need for Nigerians to buy into health insurance. “If you are going to buy a house you put the money aside over a period of time.   That is why I will encourage Nigerians to adopt health insurance because that is one-way expensive care can be easily affordable.”

He said the hospital has enough expertise through a Diaspora programme it established in 2010, where Nigerians in Diaspora are encouraged to come back and develop local capacity.  “What we have been able to achieve in the last 10 years is to integrate the Diaspora  experts  with locally trained doctors, so there are enough people to work in those facilities.”

“There are quite a number of services we intend to introduce in the future including cardiac services; we are also going to look into robotics because that is the way of the future.”

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