By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA–Afreximbank has begun construction of fifirst ever African Medical Centre of Excellence,AMCE, in Abuja.

The project is a product of partnership between the Government of Nigeria and Afreximbank to develop a world class medical facility for Africa.

The African Medical Centre of Excellence aims at providing world class medical services at par with the world’s most prestigious hospitals, thus restoring trust in the local health system.

President Muhammdu Buhari, while speaking at the occasion via zoom,regretted that lack of world class medical infrastructure in Africa had resulted in brain drain on the continent.

He said,“The rising non communicable disease (NCD) burden in Africa is well established and undeniable.

“Coupled with inadequate medical infrastructure on the continent, it makes for a lethal combination that threatens the future of our people.

“This problem is further exacerbated by the significant brain drain experienced by the continent, with our best brightest in the medical profession being attracted to career opportunities abroad resulting in a significant gap between the required treatments for NCDs and the available treatments.”

On his part,Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Afreximbank, said,“The African Medical Centre for Excellence construction comes at an inflection point, as the continent rises from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to him,”With lessons learnt from the continent’s fight to curb the virus, the AMCE will be a key player for Africa in fighting the next pandemic. “

“As a training, educational, medical and research facility, medical and research professionals from across the continent will be able to meet, exchange ideas and support Africa to implement its health agenda and provide quality healthcare, which would be accessible and affordable to all Africans.

” Partnering with King’s College Hospital, the Christie Hospital Manchester, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the African Union’s Africa CDC, the Centre of Excellence is expected to reduce the outflow of patients from the continent and ensures that capacity is built locally to provide medical specialties on the continent.

“Eventually, and through the successes and learnings of the Abuja AMCE, we envision and plan to replicate the project across other African countries with the aim of increasing medical know-how and access to all,”he added.

Also speaking,Sir Hugh Taylor, Chairman of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:“At King’s we have a long history of providing specialist healthcare locally, nationally and internationally. We are proud to be extending our clinical expertise in services such as haematology and cardiology to benefit the people of Nigeria, and Africa more generally.”

On his part, Prof. Anil Dhawan, Executive Medical Director of King’s Commercial Services said:“We are delighted to expand our overseas footprint of healthcare facilities in Nigeria, our first project in Africa, to provide the best care to the people of the continent. We envisage the replica of NHS patient care with safety and quality at the heart of it and assisting with rapid transfer of research and innovations in healthcare to the African continent.”

As explained by its management,the centre aims to provide world class healthcare across the continent in long-term partnership with King’s College Hospital, London (KCH), the official clinical partner for the AMCE.

The success of the AMCE will pave the way for future investments and partnerships in the sector while raising the local standard of healthcare and providing a blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria and Africa’s healthcare and economic challenges simultaneously.”

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