BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Obaseki plans medical hub in health sector reforms

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has earmarked a 30-acre medical hub for a modern health infrastructure as part of his health policy response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said his administration is taking advantage of the pandemic to advance development in the state. The governor spoke virtually on Tuesday at the annual Smart City Mayors’ Summit in Taipei, Taiwan.

The theme of the summit was how cities are leading digital transformation of industries by building digital infrastructure.

According to Obaseki, “COVID-19 pandemic taught us that we are on our own, so our story is one of taking opportunities of the era to build our infrastructure.”

He told participants at the global event that as part of his administration’s concerted policy responses to COVID-19 pandemic, health sector reforms have been prioritised in the state.

“For us, COVID-19 has taught us that it is going to be difficult going outside of our country to seek medical care, so we have designed our own medical district and we expect that with the investment and partnership to build our health care system internally, we will be able to withstand the challenges of future pandemics.

“The lesson of COVID-19 for us with the lockdown is that we must do all we can to build our cities, build our states, build our infrastructure and therefore in the next five years or half a decade, the emphasis by my state government is to source investments, institutionalise the use of technology in our governance process, in our education system and also in our health care system,” the governor said.

Read also: Obaseki says Edo deepening investment in tech, infrastructure, culture, people

He explained that Benin City has about 2,000 square kilometres of land which can aid the aspiration to plan cities better, and take advantage of the post- COVID-19 period to build infrastructure.

“We see this as an opportunity to leapfrog using technology in building our infrastructure and human capacity. We have a project, a 30-year urban and regional development project which hopefully will utilize technology in redefining our space and our people,” he said.

“We are emphasising investment opportunities and job creation because of the large population of young people who we have, and to reduce the pressure on them to want to migrate to countries outside of Nigeria.”

Obaseki represented the only African leadership voice at the summit which had innovative city leaders from France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Belgium, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Lithuania and Taiwan, among others.

The summit is a global platform for mayors and city leaders from around the world, who are usually invited to share their experiences in modernizing their infrastructure using digital technology and ultimately transforming their societies into smart cities.

The governor also highlighted his administration’s achievements and insights on the Benin Enterprise project, the art pavilion that will host prized artifacts being returned from Europe and elsewhere.