• Saturday, July 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Leveraging Godwin Maduka’s Medical University to stem Nigeria’s perennial medical tourism of over $1billion.

Leveraging Godwin Maduka’s Medical University to stem Nigeria’s perennial medical tourism of over $1billion.

In a country often overwhelmed by healthcare challenges, Godwin Maduka Medical University (Atlantic Medical School), Umuchukwu, Anambra State, stands as an inspiration of hope and a proof of the berth of medical excellence in Nigeria and the rest of Africa and beyond.

Thousands of Nigerians travel abroad yearly for medical tourism, ranging from routine check-ups to complex surgeries, with the attendant cost of an estimated $1 billion to the nation.

This has been a drain pipe to the country’s valuable financial resources and underscores critical gaps in its healthcare system. It is based on this that Dr. Godwin Maduka, a Nigerian-American-based medical doctor and philanthropist, envisioned the first-of-its kind medical university to reverse the trend.

Some countries have become world destinations for medical tourism: India, Thailand, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, the UAE, the United States, Canada, and Israel, among others.

Many of these providers have grown exponentially to become a multi-billion-dollar industry and the largest recipients of medical tourists.

Medical tourism thrives in Nigeria among both elites and non-elites, and the reasons for this outward flow are diverse and include: inadequate healthcare infrastructure in the country; a mass exodus of qualified medical personnel to other countries with better remuneration and conditions of service; a lack of trust in the country’s healthcare system to handle complex medical procedures; a shortage of specialised medical professionals; and a lack of confidence in local healthcare systems, among others.

The lack of will by successive administrations to improve healthcare systems in the country and reverse the trend of medical tourism has continued to exert a financial burden on the average Nigerian, who needs a high level of care.

However, the transformative opportunity that has emerged with the establishment of Godwin Maduka’s Medical University will assist Nigeria in making significant strides towards addressing its healthcare deficits and curbing the tide of medical tourism.

Maduka’s vision to establish a state-of-the-art medical university in Nigeria is not just an ambitious educational endeavour but a potential game-changer for the nation’s healthcare delivery system.

This is more so as Maduka’s Medical University aims to provide world-class medical education, cutting-edge research facilities, and top-tier healthcare services.

A high-powered delegation of the National Universities Commission (NUC), led by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Chris Maiyaki, has recently visited the yet-to-be-commissioned medical university and expressed satisfaction with the quality of the structure put in place to house the university.

In his remarks during the tour of the medical university, Mr. Maiyaki applauded Dr. Godwin Maduka for his decision to launch such a gigantic project, expressing the readiness of the NUC to offer the needed support in ensuring that more opportunities are available for human capital development in the country.

One of the critical factors driving medical tourism is the perceived lack of expertise among local medical practitioners. Maduka’s Medical University seeks to bridge this gap by offering comprehensive medical training that meets international standards.

By attracting and training the best minds in Nigeria and from around the world, the university can cultivate a new generation of highly skilled doctors, nurses, and medical researchers.

The university’s commitment to research and innovation is another basis for its potential impact. By fostering a robust research environment, the institution can address some of Nigeria’s most pressing health challenges, such as malaria, tuberculosis, and other endemic diseases.

Read also: Binance executive lawfully detained, not denied medical care – FG

Moreover, advancements in medical technology and treatment methodologies developed locally can reduce dependency on foreign medical systems.

Beyond education and research, Maduka’s Medical University is poised to enhance Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructure directly. The university hospital will be equipped with modern medical equipment and facilities, providing high-quality healthcare services that can rival those found in medical tourism destinations. This will offer Nigerians access to superior medical care within their own country.

A critical aspect of reducing medical tourism is building trust in local healthcare systems. With a top-tier medical university and hospital, Nigerians will begin to see the possibilities of receiving excellent care domestically.

Success stories and positive outcomes from the university hospital will gradually shift public perception, encouraging more people to seek treatment locally.

The economic implications of stemming medical tourism are profound. By retaining healthcare spending within the country, Nigeria can reinvest those funds into further developing its medical infrastructure and services.

Additionally, reducing medical tourism can alleviate the emotional and financial burden on patients and their families, who often face significant challenges when seeking treatment abroad.

By leveraging this institution, Nigeria has a unique opportunity to stem the flow of medical tourism and build a self-sustaining, world-class healthcare system.

The benefits of this initiative extend beyond the medical field, promising economic growth, social stability, and an improved quality of life for all Nigerians.

It is a bold step towards a future where Nigerians can receive the best medical care without leaving the country’s borders.

The curriculum at Godwin Maduka Medical University is aligned with international standards, ensuring that graduates are equipped to provide high-quality care and engage in innovative research.

This focus on excellence in education aims to instil confidence in the local healthcare system, encouraging more Nigerians to seek treatment within the country.

In addition to education, the university is poised to become a hub for medical research and innovation.

By fostering a robust research environment, Godwin Maduka Medical University can address some of Nigeria’s most pressing health challenges, such as infectious diseases and maternal and child health issues.

The institution attracts top-tier faculty and students from Nigeria and beyond, creating a vibrant academic environment that promotes excellence and inclusivity.

The focus on quality education is crucial on a continent where the shortage of skilled medical professionals is a persistent issue.

The success of Godwin Maduka Medical University and its hospital will serve as evidence of the capabilities of Nigerian healthcare professionals and institutions.

Additionally, a robust healthcare system can attract medical tourists from other countries, generating revenue and enhancing Nigeria’s global standing.

Improving healthcare access and quality will have significant social benefits. A healthier population is more productive and capable of contributing to the nation’s development.

The establishment of Godwin Maduka Medical University also creates employment opportunities, supports economic growth and stability, and contributes to the growth of the country’s GDP.

Godwin Maduka Medical University is more than just an educational institution; it is a symbol of hope and progress for Nigeria’s healthcare system.

By leveraging this university, Nigeria has a unique opportunity to transform its healthcare landscape, curb medical tourism, and establish itself as a beacon of medical excellence in Africa.

The vision and commitment embodied by this institution promise a brighter, healthier future for all Nigerians.

Maduka Medical University not only addresses current healthcare challenges but also paves the way for a healthier, more prosperous future for Africa.

By harnessing the power of education, innovation, and quality healthcare delivery, the university exemplifies the potential for African nations to achieve medical excellence and self-sufficiency.

Kalu Okoronkwo, a leadership and good governance advocate wrote from Lagos and can be reached via [email protected]