…Retains medical personnel despite mass emigration

Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has made additional $100 million investment in the nation’s sector.

The Managing Director (MD) of the organization, Mr. Uche Orji, disclosed this at the NSIA Healthcare Expansion Programme agreement signing ceremony with five tertiary health institutions, and three state governments, in Abuja, yesterday.

He expressed satisfaction with the performance of the organisation’s investment in the sector which has made it possible for the funded hospitals and diagnostic centres to provide quality medical care that meet international standards.

The MD said that the benefiting centres needed huge investments in order to provide state-of-the-art equipment that could compete with the best hospitals in the world, with a view to cutting medical tourism and retaining Nigerian medical personnel in the country.

According to him, “Each of the centres require certain level of investment, diagnostics centres, including working capital, all the radiology equipment- none is under $5 million each.

“The cancers centres are somewhere between $12 million and $20 million depending on the level of infrastructure on ground that we meet.

“They are all profitable once we are running. So once you make the investment, provide the working capital, it helps you jump start. It starts first of all as a business so they provide their own revenue, their own Profit and Loss”.

Mr. Orji said that the initial project which started as a cancer treatment programme in Lagos “now has more than 200,000 patient encounters and continuing,” adding, “We are now actually beginning to expand that Lagos centre because we are not able to keep up with the demand.”

He explained further, “The Lagos Centre is currently operating on a mantra of high-quality reasonable price, to that extent from what we have seen, we are able to deliver the cost of these treatments at about 20 percent less of what you pay in Ghana and we’ve been able to run it in a sustainable manner.

“The same thing is happening with Kano where the demand is actually beginning to exceed our capacity and Umuahia as well.”

Responding to concerns about the mass emigration of Nigerian health workers, Mr. Orji said that the programme has not recorded any exit from its medical staff and that those sent abroad for specialized training returned home after such training.

The deals sealed yesterday were for the expansion of the NSIA Diagnostics and Oncology Expansion Programme.

Under the agreements, the NSIA Healthcare Development and Investment Company (NHDIC) an NSIA Company would work with five Federal Medical Centres and three State Governments Lease and Collaboration.

The medical centres include: Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital Bauchi, Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Federal Medical Centre Asaba, Delta, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Akwa Ibom and University College Hospital Board of Management, Oyo state.

The state governments that entered partnership deals with the NSIA were Enugu, Kaduna and Kwara.

Under the programme the authority aims to establish 23 diagnostic centres, seven catheterization labs and two oncology centres across Nigeria.

The MD said, “Each centre will run as a joint venture between NSIA and the respective tertiary hospital to ensure timely and efficient delivery of services”.

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