ABUJA–THE federal government has advised Nigerians to seek information on the treatment of some diseases locally before thinking of going abroad.
This is because the government said many of its hospitals across the country were now treating some of the medical issues pushing some indigenes outside the shores of the country.
It insisted that lack of awareness had compelled some Nigerians to seek treatment on certain diseases abroad rather than locally.
This came on the heels of the commencement of open heart surgery by the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, with four patients already undergone treatment in the facility.
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, who spoke, Monday, while inspecting some newly acquired facilities to improve patients’ care by the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, said the government had put measures in place to address medical tourism.
He said state-of-the-art equipment was being procured by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to make treatment of surgeries less cumbersome.
Noting that many public hospitals in the country were now treating some medical issues pushing Nigerians abroad, he said,”There are other areas of medical tourism and we will be addressing them gradually.”
Açcording to him,” We are applying the state- of the art equipment that would make the procedure less cumbersome.”
” I can assure you that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is doing so much in terms of upgrading facilities to make them suitable for the exigencies of the moment,” he said, adding that: “The affordability and sustainability are components of the Universal Health Coverage.”
The minister, who said:”All the medical team that carried out this surgery are Nigerians living in Nigeria”, explained that:” This goes to confirm the long-held view that with the conducive environment and availability of necessary equipment, we have competent Nigerians that can really carry out this procedure excellently well.”
Earlier, the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, Prof. Saad Ahmed, explained that the open surgery was the “first of its kind in this facility.
“We were able to do it successfully and all the patients are doing quite well,” he added.
Noting that, “The open heart surgery is quite delicate and requires a lot of skills and commitment”, he said:”On this, the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Health, we were able to get some infrastructure, some equipment in this regard.”
He spoke further: “We usually send some people for training in various accreditation because open-heart surgery is teamwork.
“Many people at this moment are undergoing some forms of training. The essence for this is for us to domesticate this and make it a routine procedure in the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja.
“This is for the benefit of all Nigerians but we are looking at how this could benefit our neighboring countries and some other parts of the world.
“We are starting something small but we are looking at how we can make it big in the nearest future,” he said.
The hospital’s medical director explained that the surgeries carried out were possible through the support of Save A Heart Foundation UK, which he explained provided “skills transfer and also donated some equipment.”
Explaining, “Because of that, we were able to subsidize the cost for the patients”, Prof. Saad said:” But in the long run, we want to call on philanthropists, some corporate organisations and societies to actually come forward, to subsidize the cost of this surgery through donations to our Medical Indigent Fund.”
“The board chairman has been making contacts here and there, to see how he can make these philanthropists come to the aid of some of these people.
“Meanwhile, locally, we have established the Medical Indigent Fund which is being managed by some members of this hospital’s community, all with the aim of generating some funds to assist the indigents.
“With the commencement of the open-heart surgery here, it means that the managers of the Medical Indigent Fund need to be up and doing to reach people in far and near to see how they can come to the aid of those that are in need,” he said.
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