By Davies Iheamnachor, PORT HARCOURT
Rivers State Governor Chief Nyesom Wike called for better investment in the country’s health sector to end medical tourism.
Wike stressed that the country is urgently strengthening public health institutions, adding that Nigerians who cannot afford medical treatment abroad do not deserve to die.
He felt that it is the primary responsibility of any government to ensure equitable access to basic health care for citizens, especially the poor and the most vulnerable in society.
Wike spoke after inspecting the ongoing construction work at the multi-billion naira Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnosis and Treatment Center; basic clinical sciences and clinical sciences, the departments of nephrology and pathology at Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
He said the state government’s huge investment in tertiary hospital and public health infrastructure is aimed at making the state the hub of medical tourism in the country.
Wike insisted that any government that recognizes the centrality of public health and its essential role in nation building, would prioritize strengthening public health institutions so that those who cannot afford to do so to treat abroad do not die.
He said: “How many people can afford to travel abroad. We have everything we need to improve our healthcare sector, to provide the necessary facilities. We have our doctors, all we have to do is train and retrain them. Look at the Government House Hospital (Port Harcourt), see how people congregate there, because the basic facilities are there and the doctors are ready, determined to work because of the environment they have found themselves in.
“If you provide our employees with the required environment and give them the facilities, the tools to work, we don’t need to travel abroad. When people come to the Government House Clinic, they look at the facilities and say that is not what we see overseas. So we can reproduce it here in Nigeria.
He pointed out that the government should make it a priority to provide incentives and create an enabling environment that can help ensure that doctors and other medical experts do their jobs well.
“So my own motivation is that if I have the option to travel overseas, what about others who don’t have the option to travel overseas. Should they die just because they don’t have the opportunity? It is the government’s obligation to ensure that our citizens receive the best to protect their lives. It is the government’s responsibility to protect lives.
“So for me it’s our responsibility and therefore we have to do everything we can to save the lives of our people by making sure that our health care delivery system is working and that doctors are also getting the best for them. work, “he said.
Governor Wike rated the quality of work of Dr. Peter Odili Cancer, Center for Cardiovascular Disease Diagnosis and Treatment as very satisfactory, revealing that the contractor, Julius Berger, is working diligently to meet the project completion deadline.
He further stated that the state government does not owe the contractors who run the renal center, pathology department, basic clinical sciences or clinical science buildings at Rivers State University Hospital. . He instructed the institution to ensure that all contractors are working towards the completion of the project by May 2022.