By Chioma Obinna
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed yesterday said the establishment of Duchess International Hospital in Lagos will drastically reduce the huge drain caused by medical tourism on the country’s foreign reserves.
Mohammed also explained that the recent Federal Government’s financial interventions and projects in the critical healthcare sector were to fast-track the evolvement of world-class healthcare facilities like the Duchess International Hospital in Nigeria.
Addressing journalists after a media tour of the hospital facilities in Lagos said no Nigerian irrespective of status has any need to go abroad for medical treatment, adding that there was a need for Nigerian doctors abroad to come home and render services in the newly established hospitals in the country.
He said with more world-class healthcare facilities like Duchess Hospital coming on stream, Nigeria is set to become a destination for medical tourists, instead of having our citizens travel yearly and spending over N500 billion for medical tourism.
“We as a country will also conserve our foreign reserves while earning foreign exchange: we will begin to reverse the brain drain in the health sector; create jobs and provide affordable and standard healthcare for our people. It’s a new dawn for the health sector and we are proud of what Duchess and other healthcare facilities are doing in bringing about this new dawn.
He further recalled that available records show that Nigerians spend between USD1.2 and USD1.6 billion on medical tourism. “That’s a huge drain on our foreign reserves. Also, to retain doctors, our healthcare facilities must be equipped to the world standard level and doctors and other healthcare workers must be adequately remunerated. Of course, facilities like Duchess International are veritable tools for job creation, in addition to attracting medical tourists from across the world.
“I am sure the questions on the lips of many here would be how affordable this hospital is, especially for ordinary Nigerians. Fittingly, the management of Duchess Hospital has answered that question by launching the ‘World Class Affordable Healthcare Programme’.
“With what we have seen here today and the Programme that has just been launched Nigerians can now get access to affordable and world-class treatment in whatever is ailing them in many areas, including emergency medicine, women’s health, paediatric care, cardiovascular medicine, kidney dialysis, dental treatment, eye care, etc.
Launching the hospital’s new programme – “World Class Affordable Healthcare Programme”, the Chief Executive Officer, Duchess International Hospital, Dr. Adetokunbo Shitta-Bey announced that with only N5,000 a patient is registered in the hospital while it takes another N5,000 to see any consultant in the hospital.
He said the mission of the hospital was to reverse medical tourism by delivering the highest standards of care, using the most advanced technology and treatments to give patients the fastest, most convenient access to the best medical expertise available anywhere in the world.
Shitta-Bey said the Hospital was a purpose-built, state-of-the-art, 100-bed hospital, driving to reverse medical tourism, reduce the cost of access to essential hospital services, as well as provide access to quality world-class healthcare.