President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that to end brain drain and incessant strike by doctors and other health workers, there must be stronger partnership with the private sector which would help in improving health facilities and access in the country, adding that a nation needs a healthy population to prosper.
According to the president, the challenges faced in the health sector require collective will, partnership and more resources, especially in tackling brain drain.
Speaking at the virtual groundbreaking ceremony of African Medical Centre of Excellence, a landmark hospital projected to significantly transform the healthcare sector in West African sub-region in Abuja on Tuesday, Buhari said that coming together of private and public sector brought the project to fruition.
He said that the commissioned project was being implemented by African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) in partnership with the Federal Government, Kings College Hospital, London, University of Winsconsin Teaching Hospital, USA and Christies Hospital, Manchester.
He added that the event also demonstrates the commitment of the Nigerian Government and Afreximbank to the wellbeing of the African people, and the recognition that the wealth of a nation rests squarely on the health of its population.
According to the president, in addition to providing comprehensive care across the three critical care areas, the AMCE will offer educational services to develop talent and establish itself as a world-class research centre, in partnership with global institutions such as Kings College Hospital and Christies Hospital in the United Kingdom.
“The success of the AMCE will pave the way for future investments and partnerships in the sector while raising the local standard of healthcare and providing a blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria’s and Africa’s healthcare and economic challenges,” he said.
Furthermore, Buhari said that the rising cases of non-communicable diseases in Africa are well established, adding that, “cardiovascular ailments, cancers and haematological disorders have increasingly become matters of concern to public health cares. These ailments are now the highest contributors to non-communicable disease mortalities, representing more than 81% of all NCD deaths in West Africa.”
“The World Health Organization projects that deaths on the African continent attributable to cancer and diabetes are expected to rise over the next 10 years. The rising NCD burden coupled with inadequate medical infrastructure on the continent threatens the future of our people. Right now, many hospitals in the West African region are underfunded, underequipped, understaffed and relatively inaccessible to most patients especially from rural areas.
“Inasmuch as this represents an opportunity for investment in African healthcare, it has not necessarily translated into increased investment activity in this most pressing area that requires intervention. This problem is further exacerbated by the significant brain drain experienced by the continent.
“The flight of doctors and nurses to other continents has resulted in a significant gap between the required treatments for NCDs and the available treatments and care. The above challenges combine to create a regional health market with poor access to critical services and low perception of quality of care available,’’ the President noted.
In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said all hands are on deck, with the Inter-ministerial Committee working to ensure that the project is actualized in a way that is beneficial to all parties. The Minister said a strong emphasis will be placed on maintenance and sustainability of the AMCE.