Wednesday, 27 August 2014
FG begins construction of $650m Abuja Medical City..
Health Minister, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Wednesday, inaugurated two committees to oversee the construction of a 1,687-bed hospital, valued at $650m in the Federal Capital Territory to make quality medical care for all categories of Nigerians.
Tagged the Abuja Medical City Project, he said the facility, which is expected to be completed between 24 and 36 months, would be implemented through a Public Private Partnership arrangement.
He explained that both the Steering committee and the Project Development Committee headed by him and the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Linus Awute, respectively, consist of members from the FCT administration, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Agency.
He said the Federal Ministry of Health conceived the project as part of the President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda aimed at providing a “one-stop platform for Local and Diaspora Health Professionals to provide critical high quality specialists services to Nigerians.”
Apart from the fact that it will provide access to quality health care for all residents, the minister said the project was also conceived as part of his ministry’s strategy to unlock the market potentials of the health sector by creating an enabling environment for the private sector to grow.
He said, ” It is the responsibility of government to provide the necessary infrastructure for efficient and effective healthcare delivery to the population through both public and private sector initiatives.”
He urged the investors to take advantage of the structured favourable government service level agreements to lease specialists clinics, outpatient clinics, ambulatory and emergency case, diagnostic centres, and hospital spaces.
According to him, “It is expected that the establishment of this World Class Medical City will not only satisfy the yearnings of Nigerians for such services but also enhance that our GDP through inward flow of medical tourism to Nigeria’s advantage.”
It will be recalled that a representative of IBT Group, promoters of the hospital project, Mr. Daniel Toledano, had told journalists last year, after making a presentation on the project to the minister that the project will be the first of its kind in Africa.
Toledano had said that the execution of the project will make Nigeria a medical tourists centre in Africa in terms of capacity and personnel to cater for, at least, 2,040,000 patients at a time.
He had added that the IBT Group, which will handle the project alongside Sumolex and KMD Architects, had over 35 years experience in turnkey projects in 21 countries across the globe.
He had also lamented that Nigeria loses over $500m yearly to medical tourism abroad, and that capital flight per patient ranged between $20,000 and $40,000 per trip.
He had said, “The objectives of the project include provision of the first level three medical care facility in Nigeria and to relocate high-complexity medical care to Abuja Medical City.”
Chukwu on the occasion, had also explained that the proposed 1,687-bed hospital, would include 763 beds for Trauma Centre; 300 beds for Amenities care pavilion; 524 beds for Pediatric section and 100 beds for Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation section.
Also speaking, the spokesman for IBT Group of companies, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, said the Abuja Medical City, which will become operational six months to its completion date, will cost $650m.
Defining the operational model for the proposed hospital, Dr. Isioma Okobah, a Nigerian doctor based in Atlanta, Georgia in the US, said “We can attract our doctors in the Diaspora back home and there won’t be need for medical tourism abroad because they will provide the same services here and get the same pays they are getting now.”