As part of the efforts to checkmate medical tourism in the country, a 100-bed medical facility has been commissioned in Ace Medicare, Ota, Ogun State.
The hospital management said it expected government collaboration by sending patients that could not be handled to the facility instead of going abroad.
The hospital is to cater for antenatal, cardiology, diabetic, dental, ear, nose and throat, general surgery, heamatology, immunisation and infant welfare. Others include nephrology, neurology, neurosurgery, optometry and ophthalmology, orthopaedics, paediatric surgery and pain. Also on the list are pathology, physiotherapy, plastic, psychiatry, sickle cell and urology.
Its Medical Director, Oluwole Kukoyi at the commissioning recalled: “Operating from a rented apartment the hospital pioneered, in that early stage, provision of specialist clinics and ultrasound scan services in the Ota community.
“The movement of the hospital in 1995 to its owner-occupied facility located witnessed the upgrade of services to include X-ray, renal dialysis, CT scan, mammography and additional specialist clinics. To expand its frontier, the hospital signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with the reputable health institution in India, Artemis Hospital in October 2009.
“This was followed by the first international medical conference co-organised by Ace Medicare Clinics Limited and Artemis Hospital in December 2009. On this platform, 18 of such conferences have been executed, providing Continuing Medical Education (CME) to doctors and other health professionals.
“The programme has featured renowned resource persons from US, UK, India, South Africa and local reputable institutions and individuals.”
Kukoyi noted that when the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) made CME mandatory for Nigerian doctors in 2011, Ace Medicare as one of the first few private institutions accredited as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) providers, adding that by this time, the hospital already had a robust platform for delivering CME units at no cost to the doctors.
He explained that since the first accreditation by the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN), in 2008 as a training centre for family medicine, the hospital provided tutelage for almost 50 family medicine residents from teaching hospitals, federal medical centres and general hospitals in the South West:
“Apart from paying upkeep allowances to the residents, they are also exposed to a 12-week course in management. The hospital recently sponsored an update course organised by the Faculty of Family Medicine, NPMCN.
“The hospital has hosted a number of residents, medical students and nurses on elective postings from US, Canada, UK, Russia and Ukraine.
“Under the AfriWon Renaissance project of WONCA Africa, two young family physicians from Turkey and France visited the hospital for observership in February 2019.”
The medical director said the current hospital project commenced in 2012 with initial support from the First City Monument Bank (FCMB), and later Bank of Industry (BoI):
“The goal of the hospital is to render primary, secondary and tertiary services, and through the latter reduce the outflow of patients seeking medical treatment beyond the country.
“When we set out on this journey in February 1989, we had no idea how the path would be but had faith in the God who has the blueprint of every deed of man.
“We have received and enjoyed the support and encouragement from ministers of God, teachers, mentors, colleagues, clients, workers and friends. The goodwill of the Ota community has been tremendous.
“What we are witnessing today is the first phase of our vision, but we have abiding faith in the faithfulness of God for completion in not distant future. What does the future hold for us in this organisation?
“A challenging field of excellence to pursue and achieve, a gold mine of new friendships to discover and nurturing of existing ones, a tasking responsibility to show more love and care to humanity, and in all of these a compelling duty to serve God more.
“While we are local in physical presence we will be Glo-Cal in mind set, capitalising in the boundless opportunities provided by technology and innovations.”
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo who was the chief guest of honour said: “I am aware that there are thousands of well placed experienced qualified, even wealthy Nigerian medical practitioners in the Diaspora that can invest in projects like this. It is a call to patriotism and an opportunity to show leadership.”
He said government has a role to make the atmosphere conducive to investors, stating that security has to improve significantly. He lamented that the incessant trips by Nigerians abroad for one medical treatment or the other is alarming.
He stated that even for basic medical check-ups, members of the Nigerian elite, at a great cost to the public directly or indirectly, hop on a plane overseas, wondering how the country’s health facility can be improved:
“Days of opportunistic or quick portfolio investment in Nigeria are gone. What we need are well-thought-out investments that will create jobs, promote sectoral integration, increase local content, and uplift the economic foundations of Nigeria.
“The effects of the investment in the facility will touch the lives of people, reduce pain and sorrow, and help build the bodies and minds of people who in turn would become more productive in the society.”
President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Francis Faduyile, the facility is the first of its kind in this environment, adding that it takes courage to achieve it in Nigerian environment largely unsupportive to the private sector:
“It is worthy of note that this clinic complex, a multi-specialist setting, will not only cater for the healthcare need of the people in the immediate vicinity of this environment and beyond, but shall provide employment opportunity for medical/health professionals and thereby reduce unemployment and consequently contribute to the reduction of brain drain in the health sector of Nigeria.”