My Dream Nigeria Series: Health Care

Lake Nona Medical Center

The current sojourn by my beloved President to the UK in search of quality healthcare is an opportunity for the country to begin laying the foundation of its greatness.

For so long I have always wondered why the government doesn’t take health care seriously in this country. I know for a fact that sometime in the 60’s and 70’s the Saudi Royal family used to visit Nigeria in search of proper health care, how then did we deplete that reputation so much so that our own leaders can’t use our health facilities?

Quite frankly I am not writing this as a complaint, but rather as a solution provider. I have a dream that Nigeria can and would be great and as such I would be sharing with you in my own opinion how I think we can get our healthcare back on track.

It is widely reported that Nigerians spend an average of $1Billion per annum on medical tourism; that is more than N350 Billion Naira.

So then again how much would it cost to build a standard medical center, I mean a medical city such as the Texas Medical Center which houses about 54 medicine related institutions.

To answer this question I would like to take a sample as referenced on building cost across countries:

• University of Texas South western Hospital cost $800m for 532 beds on about 30 acres
• Parkland Memorial in Dallas cost $1.3B for 862 beds on about 45 acres
• Mercy Hospital in California cost $166m for a 185 bed
• NHS Hospital in the UK cost $138m for a 210 bed
• Mysore Hospital in India cost about $6m for a 200 bed

So basically this means that with proper planning and budgeting if you invest say $5Billion (possibly spread over 3–5 years) into a medical city, we would be able to replicate the Texas Medical Center here in Nigeria (give or take).

Texas Medical Center

That facility in my estimation would be able to cater for a wide range of medical conditions; it should have no less than 2,000 beds and capacity for expansion, it should have an integrated independent power source among other infrastructure, the cluster of health facilities in a single location would enable consolidation of resources hence making it easier to maintain and cheaper to run.

FUNDING
Well since this can be considered as an investment, I believe the government can begin by

  1. raising an endowment fund towards the project;
  2. we could also have international investors and work out a joint venture arrangement.
  3. We could also have organizations subscribe to the project perhaps as part of their HMO commitments, such that their staff gains priority access to the facility when it becomes functional.

I believe no serious investor would pass up such an opportunity if there’s sincerity of purpose by the government

LOCATION
We have heard countless times that some states are poor and cannot generate revenue for themselves etc.;

this is an opportunity for such states to capitalize, all that is needed really is a country side location, either an Ekiti State, an Ondo State, or an Osun State etc., where the beautiful landscape can add to the healing process.

Lokoja, Kogi State

Obviously the project in itself would bring development to the area in question and would provide specialization for the people of the host community.

I really see state governments lobbying to have this investment situated within their states.

SKILL MANAGEMENT/REPUTATION BUILDING
I believe the best hands from across the world should be brought here

(where they cannot come in as resident doctors they can be invited from time to time as is done world over); they can in turn pass on their skill and knowledge to Nigerians over time.

No expense should be spared in ensuring they are comfortable and are been afforded a globally competitive welfare package (this applies to the Nigerian doctors as well);

Professionalism should be the watchword and there should be no room for mediocrity.

BENEFITS
It goes without saying that this would not only provide a huge boost for the nation in terms of revenue generation, if properly implemented and managed the facility should become the medical hub of Sub-Saharan Africa attracting patients from across the world.

The Government can also build on this to implement a social health scheme for the Nigerian citizenry where they can get health checks (this can be planned into the framework over a period of time and not necessarily immediate).

Job creation and skill specialization is also a benefit of this project.

MAINTENANCE
It is very important for the facility to be properly maintained and one way which this can be done is to establish a separate 20% budget of total cost (about $1Billion) towards maintenance,

This fund should be put in an investment trust such that it isn’t just sitting idly but is being turned over, the interests on it can then be channeled into regular maintenance.

Shangai Medical City

Well these are my thoughts based on the limited information available to me politically and economically. I am not a medical professional but I decided to share with you based on my limited understanding.

I hope this write-up would open up a thread of discussion towards fine tuning the above thought process. Kindly drop your comments below and let’s get talking.

I remain your committed patriot

Lojo