Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has said that the N2.5 billion Cancer and Diagnostic facility in Kwara will reduce medical tourism.
The governor, who laid the foundation of the cancer and diagnostic centre, said it was coming with huge socio-economic impacts for the state.
Rafiu Ajakaye, the chief press secretary to the governor, informed that the facility being funded with the N2.5 billion donation by the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative (ASR Africa) was owned by the BUA Group.
The governor, however, commended Samad Rabiu for the choice of Kwara to host the facility, said the project will be named Abdul Samad Rabiu Medical Centre.
“I commend the ASR Africa for the choice of Kwara to host this unique facility, which clearly bolsters our standing in the comity of states in Nigeria.
By the time the facility is completed, it will become a first of its kind in the north-central and a major referral centre that will attract tens of thousands of people from across Nigeria and beyond every year.
“Added to some of our major facilities like the modern intensive care unit, the dental and eye facilities, and the soon-to-commence teaching hospital, among others, Kwara is poised to become a go-to place for high-end medical treatment and research and training centre in Nigeria.”
The governor promised to give ASR Africa and BUA Group every support required to ensure the project is completed on time.
“Cancer has become a major health issue in the 21st century. Globally, cancer is a major leading health problem with an estimated 10 million incidents and 6 million cancer deaths annually. According to the National Institute of Health, Nigeria records an estimated 72,000 cancer deaths annually, and 102,000 new cases are diagnosed from its population of 200 million people,” he added.
Amina Ahmed El-Imam, state commissioner for health in her remarks, said about one in four deaths in Nigeria was due to non-communicable diseases like cancers.
El-Imam said the siting of the oncology centre in the state will save Nigeria from its annual loss of multimillion dollars to medical tourism which is chiefly in search of cancer-related treatments abroad.
Obon Udoh, the CEO of ASR Africa in his address, said Kwara scored the highest marks among the four states that were eligible for the foundation’s tertiary health system support grant — ratings he said were based on quality access to healthcare.