By Johnson Adebowale
Over the years, Nigeria’s health care system has faced such challenges as brain drain and inadequate modern facilities, among other problems, which make it look ineffective.
However, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed optimism that with more investments in the sector, the country could become a destination of choice for medical tourists even from developed countries.
Osinbajo expressed this view while inaugurating the Duchess International Hospital, a subsidiary of the Reddington Hospital Group in Lagos.
The vice president, who was accompanied by Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dapo Abiodun of Lagos and Ogun states respectively, to commission the health facility sounded optimistic that things could get better with serious private sector investments.
Others who joined Osinbajo at the event were the Governor of Central Bank Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; the Managing Directors of the Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan and Access Bank – Herbert Wigwe, and Dr. Yemi Onabowale, President and CEO of Redington Hospitals, among others.
Osinbajo said the new hospital was a symbol of hope for the country in spite of the trend.
He said that that Nigeria is a country that has world-class talents, ideas and execution of ideas. He affirmed that with more investments in its health sector, it will make the country a destination of choice for medical tourists even from developed countries.
The vice president said: “We have all it takes to become the place of choice for even medical tourists from developed countries looking to jump long queues for specialised procedures at home or simply shopping for more affordable fees for first-class health care.
“We have by far the largest number of middle- to low-income communities and individuals in sub–Saharan Africa who require affordable, high-quality healthcare.”
Osinbajo concurred with the proprietors of the hospital on their mission to reverse medical tourism by using the most advanced technology equipment to give the fastest, most convenient access to the best medical expertise available anywhere in the world.
“Today is one of those days that one gets extra proud for being a Nigerian. It is one of those days when your belief is affirmed that this is a country of world-class talents, world-class ideas, world-class execution,” he stated.
He added that if the business was not profitable, the proprietors would not venture into it, pointing out that such investments seeking high-quality medical personnel, would positively impact doctors.
“We can even reverse the trend of doctors voting with their feet, and we have seen that several doctors who are part of the management of this facility are coming from different parts of the world. The reasons for voting with their feet are all these – better remuneration, better facilities.
“But again, only serious private sector investment in high-quality healthcare services offering top compensation for its personnel could possibly create an attractive proposition to reverse the trend.
“So, the only way we can ensure that people stay, obviously, is to reward their services. I think that this is a good way to start.”
Earlier in his address, the Chairman, Reddington Hospital Group, Dr. Adeyemi Onabowale, said that the project was a one-stop multi-specialty, multi-disciplinary facility, where the best hospital care would be delivered together with world-class hospitality service.
In his remarks, Emefiele said that the apex bank would continue to support the growth of the economy as a healthy workforce was critical to building a robust economy.