FG releases N209.3bn to healthcare sector in 2 years – Minister

Minister of information and culture Lai Mohammed says the Federal Government has released over N209.3 billion in credit support to the healthcare sector in the last two years.

Mohammed said this on Tuesday during a tour of the Dutchess Hospital, Lagos. According to him, the fund was a combination of the N200 billion health sector intervention fund set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) during COVID-19 and $22.5 million invested in two diagnostic centres in Kano and Umuahia, as well as a cancer centre in Lagos.

Dutchess Hospital is one of the beneficiaries of the long-term and low-cost financial intervention of the CBN intervention disbursed through the Bank of Industry.

He said the financial interventions were targeted at developing a crop of healthcare facilities capable of delivering global standards and reversing the outflow of foreign exchange spent on medical tourism.

“The essence of these projects in the healthcare sector is to fast-track the evolvement of world-class healthcare facilities like Duchess International Hospital. With that, we can conserve our foreign reserves, earn foreign exchange for the country, create jobs, reverse brain drain, and become a destination for medical tourists,” he said.

Citing data showing that Nigerians spend about $1.6 billion on medical tourism, he noted that local healthcare facilities needed to be equipped to international standards and doctors and other healthcare workers adequately remunerated.

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The minister hoped that in addition to attracting medical tourists and creating jobs, Nigerians also can access affordable treatment in different areas, including emergency medicine, women’s health, pediatric care, cardiovascular medicine, kidney dialysis, dental treatment and eye care among others.

Adetokunbo Shitta-Bey, chief executive officer of the hospital, said the hospital was determined to sustain its goal to deliver an international standard that is affordable and available here in Nigeria.

The minister inspected the cardiology centre, including the physiotherapy room, learning and development centre, surgical and gynecology ward, fully-automated lab and intensive and Critical care unit. Also visited were the endoscopy unit, women and children ward, dialysis centre, dental unit, surgical theatre and the radiology department among others.

He said the visit was in continuation of a tour of development projects in all sectors of the economy. Over the past month, his team has toured the Dangote refinery and petrochemical project; the Dangote Fertilizer Company as well as the Lekki Deep Seaport.

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