The founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, Dr Ola Brown, has called for investment from the private sector participants in funding the health sector to improve the economy and help the government in delivering quality health service to Nigerians
Brown at an event organised by her firm to celebrate the unveiling of its new air ambulance interior in Lagos on Monday said Nigerians have a lot to gain if the private sector decides to contribute to the funding of the health sector.
She described the health care industry as a major sector that was capable of growing the economy of any nation, stating that citizens need to be healthy for them to work.
“Health care is not just investment in sick people, it is an investment in the economy because when people are ill, they can’t work. For every one dollar you invest in the health sector, you get two to ten dollars in terms of economic growth. And there is nothing we need more in Nigeria than economic growth. Our policymakers must start to see health care as an investment and not a cost.
“I believe air ambulance is even more important because we cannot continue to spend our entire health care budget on cement -building primary health care centres and more hospitals. Rather, we should invest in the people, doctors, their education and procuring of equipment. The idea behind this initiative is to help patients get timely interventions regardless of where they live,” Brown said.
She urged the Federal Government to invest and promote the idea of an air ambulance, noting that air ambulance provides answers to serious health issues.
“Air ambulances are used all over the world to transport patients from areas where they have overwhelmed the level of care to a more suitable level of care. The world’s first air ambulance was started in Australia in 1928, since then it has moved millions of patients from the Australian outback into urban centers. This has saved the government of Australia billions of dollars, as there has been no need to construct a major hospital in every single town/city.
“However, the sophisticated air ambulance system ensures that every patient can reach the correct specialist hospital within the right timeframe. The Flying Doctors Nigeria air ambulance services has been providing this essential service throughout West and Central Africa, moving patients within Nigeria, within the region and internationally,” she added.
She said the service being rendered by her firm makes it easy for patients in Western and Central Africa to access specialist care within minutes, regardless of where they live.