Nigeria is set to have a first cancer hospital, the African Medical Centre of Excellence has said.
This was made known by the AMCE Chief Executive Officer, Brian Deaver, when he paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, on Wednesday.
Deaver noted that most Nigerian hospitals are general in nature, hence the need to fill up the gaps specifically in tackling cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The CEO also said that the hospital would create jobs for a thousand people and healthcare workers which would help manage the brain drain syndrome, explaining that the environment would be created for those who left to return.
He said, “It is truly a pleasure to be with you here and to talk a little bit about what we are doing and to really seek the collaboration, as we look to bring back all of the talented and educated and experienced doctors and nurses around the world in the US, London and other places to bring them home, and to help us as we seek to treat Nigerians as well as the West African sub region in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and haematological diseases.
“Nigeria is fortunate to have many very good hospitals that are general in nature. We have chosen to invest in a very large hospital, ultimately 500 beds that will focus on what we saw as gaps in the care and that is specifically in cancer and cardiovascular disease.
“The beauty of this is not only during construction, we would be creating jobs.
“By the way, we have been in construction for a year now and we will invite you to come out and see the site and the great work that has been done.
“But not only will the jobs be added during the construction phase which will continue because of the size of the project for the next two years, afterwards as we prepare for opening and after opening, we will be adding literally 1,000 jobs to the area. So we desperately need your help.
“We want to partner with you as we seek to get the message out to all of the excellent skilled, educated Nigerians that are out throughout the world to bring them home and to participate in this great project.”
Responding, the NiDCOM Chairman appreciated the team for choosing Nigeria to invest, assuring the team of total support from the Commission in ensuring that Nigerian talented medical personnel return to the country to boost the health sector.
She expressed optimism that the AMCE would be a game changer in the Nigerian health system.
Dabiri-Erewa said, “We are ready to work with you. We will hit the ground running with you. You can count on our partnership to make it successful.
“It is particularly important because we are talking about the medical field. I mean, I am sure you read all the stories. We are not happy about the fact that a lot of medical personnel are leaving. You know what makes me happy? They are leaving despite the circumstances, and they are some of the best wherever they go. So those that are leaving the UK to Canada, get there and they excel. They would not do that if the foundation was not right.
“We know we have to do better but they are Nigerians and they are doing very well over there. The beauty of this is that they are still going to come back and be the ones to work with this African Medical Centre of Excellence.
“We should be proud of who we are as a people and the talent of brains that we have. Now, how do you harness all these to the benefit of our own home country? So I am proud of our brothers and sisters everywhere.
“They just need a better environment and is being created by the government and I am sure in the next few years, we will have positive stories to tell, particularly the health sector. I think, even before your coming, we must say we have about 10 hospitals that have been built and there are Nigerians in the diaspora.
“Right here in Abuja, we have about five that come to build these hospitals, populate them and then they come from time to time. So really, I am sure that when we move on, we are going to be a destination for medical tourism. I am hoping that the AMCE will be a game changer.”