Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Chairman of the Benue state Traditional Council and Tor Tiv, Ochivirigh Prof. James Ayatse has called on the federal and state governments to encourage private investments in the health sector to bring an end to medical tourism that had before now become the order of the day especially among the rich in the country.
The Tor Tiv made this known during the commissioning of the multi million Naira Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Amenity Block of First Fertility Hospital and unveiling of the Antenatal Handbook and First Fertility IVF Subsidy Foundation in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Thursday.
The royal father who commended the Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr. Stephen Hwande for setting up such laudable project explained that the initiative would encourage citizens of other countries to undertake medical tourism to Nigeria.
“As a Professor of Medical Biochemistry, I know that this type of facility will encourage people from other parts of the world to seek medical attention in our country and Benue state in particular thereby ending medical tourism by Nigerians, so it should be encouraged.”
He also appreciated Hwande for instituting a foundation to assist poor women have their babies through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) stressing that the facility had renewed the hope of women who hitherto had no hope of having their own children.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Hwande disclosed that the hospital which was established five years ago recently upgraded its facilities with modern equipment and also introduced a foundation to assist poor women access IVF treatment to have babies.
“The hospital was set up five years ago and we have seen over 3000 cases, out of which over 1500 IVFs have been carried out with over 700 live births. A 63 years old woman has delivered here. We can now keep sperms such that even a dead man can have children. We can save embryo for many years.
“We found out that some women don’t know how to handle pregnancy. Some don’t even know when to come to the hospital. That’s why we have written an ante natal handbook.
“Also, because of the age in which these women get pregnant, we decided to set up a neonatal center. We have incubators that can take pregnancies from five months. We have also set up First Fertility Hospital subsidy foundation to assist poor women have children through IVF,” Hwande said.