Former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has urged Nigerians to stop traveling abroad for medical treatment. He said rather they should strive to improve on the local healthcare facilities. He urged individuals and in the country groups to invest in appropriate sectors in the country.
Chief Obasanjo said it was disheartening to note that most of the places Nigerians travel to for medical treatments are manned by Nigerians. He, however, did not rule out the role of the government in providing a conducive environment, improved security to ensure that investments in Nigeria yield returns.
Obasanjo who was represented by his wife, Mrs Bola Obasanjo at the commissioning of a Dialysis Centre, Strong Tower Services in Okota, Lagos said: “The incessant trips by Nigerians abroad for one medical treatment or the other is becoming so alarming. Even for basic medical check-ups, members of the Nigerian elite at great cost to the public directly or indirectly, hop in a plane overseas.
“How do we build our own medical structures when we keep going abroad? How do we encourage and support our professionals when we give the impression that they are incapable of meeting our medical requirements? How do we build confidence in our medical institutions if we do not patronise them? Is it right to keep wasting our limited foreign reserves on such trips abroad when local facilities exist?”
He, therefore, urged all Nigerians to patronise local medical institutions so that they could grow and continue to offer quality services to a greater number of our people. He said: “It is only by patronising the local facilities that we can encourage them to improve.
“I have noted with great satisfaction that the mission of the Dialysis Centre is to provide efficient, dedicated and affordable quality healthcare delivery. I must congratulate and commend the entire management and staff of Strong Tower Health Services Limited for this initiative and I can only urge others, within and outside Nigeria to follow the example and I enjoin all Nigerians to create a great, stable and productive economy.”
Chief Obasanjo said that the days of opportunistic or quick portfolio investment in Nigeria were gone; that what was needed was well-thought-out investments that would create jobs, promote the integration of sectors, increase local content and uplift the economic foundation of Nigeria.
“The investment in Stronger Tower Health Services Limited is one that meets these qualifications while at the same time providing service for humanity,” he said.
“Without serving humanity, we cannot serve God. The effect 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 society. I am aware that there are thousands of well-placed experienced and qualified and even wealthy Nigerian medical professionals in the Diaspora that can invest in projects like this. Strong Tower Health Services Limited presents challenges to them. It is a call to patriotism and an opportunity to show leadership.”
He charged the medical professionals and caregivers, on the other hand, to never let the people down. He said: “Sharp practices and shortcuts must be avoided. Quacks must be exposed and flushed out of the profession by the appropriate agencies. Corruption must be totally contained and eliminated. Healthy competition among medical facilities must be encouraged so as to promote quality services. Service delivery, one of the reasons the public continues to doubt the quality of care in our medical facilities, must be taken seriously.
“Proprietors must invest in modern equipment and training for their staff. With these in place, the synergy between what the public needs and that which the health institutions can deliver will culminate in quality service.”
Speaking to newsmen at the event, a USA-based Nigerian expert in dialysis, Dr (Mrs) Olufunke Achu said the increase in renal failure could not be totally divorced from health issues like hypertension, diabetes and other related sickness that put the kidney under unnecessary pressure. She advised Nigerians to take their health matters seriously, noting that the huge investment in the Dialysis Centre was not motivated by monetary gains but service to humanity.
“We want to give back to society and what a better way to do that than in an area we have the expertise,” she said.