Nizamiye Hospital: Curbing Medical Tourism in Nigeria


Martins Ifijeh

The story of baby Aisha Nazeeph can best fit a Nollywood script. At 28 weeks, weighing less than 1kg and her mother’s blood pressure struggling to surpass the 300 mark, the world looked bleak for the Nazeeph’s. They were just waiting for death to take over.

Mr. Nazeeph Mohammed wanted an emergency abortion to save his wife, Hadiza’s life having experienced two stillbirths in quick succession. “My wife lost two children due to high blood pressure which has been a challenge for her since we got married,” he says.

“It all started as a joke when she told me she was pregnant” he recanted. I had mixed feelings because we had lost two babies in a row because of my wife’s high blood pressure. I was apprehensive,” Mohammed recalled. But his worries turned into joy with the intervention of the Nigerian Turkish Nizamiye Hospital. And today both mother and child are in perfect health.

The Mohammeds have been to some of the best hospitals in Kaduna and Abuja, but help wasn’t near sight especially with a pregnant wife that had her blood pressure reading above 280/190 and a fetus weighing less than 1kg and too tiny in size. “The baby was too small. At that point, my concern was for the safety of my wife and not even the baby. I wanted my wife alive and repeatedly made calls for the pregnancy to be aborted,” he stated. But his request was turned down by the team of doctors at the hospital, led by Dr. Lokman Cinar, a consultant pediatrician.

According to Dr. Cinar, Mrs. Mohammed’s case was indeed critical, as she had a 50/50 chance of survival and the baby had a 30/70 chance of survival. “We were confronted with an extremely dangerous situation. Our professionalism and expertise were called to question; our passion was also ignited, and we were determined more than ever to ensure that the mother and child were alive,” Dr. Lokman stated with both hands stretched in the air.

For the Mohammeds, the journey started from Kaduna. Mohammed recalls how they went to hospitals in Kaduna, but nothing could be done. “A friend of mine told me about the Nigerian Turkish Nizamiye Hospital, and I had wanted to bring my dad for treatment, but unfortunately he passed on before arrangements could be finalised. I was more than determined to take my wife to the hospital, but the doctors who were attending to her in Kaduna wouldn’t agree.”

Mrs. Mohammed was eventually transferred to a private hospital in Abuja, but the treatment she got was depressing. “I was brought to the hospital in an ambulance, and when we got there, I could not walk so I was assisted with a wheelchair. But I was not allowed into the hospital. A nurse came out and asked me to wait for a doctor to come and see me outside,” she said.
She further stated that “a physician came out and met me outside. He demanded the referral letter from the hospital in Kaduna and the process was so depressing. At that point, I lost hope, and my husband was enraged with the shabby treatment of a critical case in a supposedly premium hospital.”

She was eventually admitted and was lined up for surgery. “She has been prepared for surgery until they came up with another demand; they wanted an incubator with Ventolin for the baby.

“They then requested that my wife be transferred to another hospital that has the said incubator, but I disagreed and insisted that my wife be moved to the Turkish Hospital,” Mohammed’s wish was granted finally.

“To our amazement, a medical team was at the gate to receive us at the Turkish Hospital. I thought it was a dream considering the journey so far for us,” Mohammed said. Adding, “For the first time, I saw life began to return to my wife who was apparently waiting to die.”

The medical team that received the Mohammeds was led by Dr. Cinar and five others. “She was immediately wheeled into one of the wards, and there were about eight people attending to her at the same time; taking blood samples, fixing all sorts of equipment on her and the likes. I was dazed,” Mohammed said. In less than 30 minutes, they reassured me that all was well and that for her fast rising blood pressure they were going to handle it and that mother and child would be fine.”

‘’Located in Abuja, the hospital is well-equipped, and with top-notch staff. Though a Turkish hospital in name, 70 percent of the staff, are brilliant and experienced Nigerians. The emphasis at the hospital is proper investigation and diagnosis, having in mind that many lives have been lost due to misdiagnosis,” said the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Mustafa Ahsen.

Nizamiye, according to him has performed over 100 surgeries in its short time of existence, adding that the hospital was at the forefront of healthcare provision in the country. “One of our aims is to encourage patients to come for treatment here because when they go abroad, their relatives and friends cannot support them during or after the operation. So that is one benefit of coming to this hospital; you have your family and a regular doctor at hand,” he said.

Baby Aisha’s case is one of the many complicated cases the Nizamiye Hospital handles on a daily basis.Baby Aisha is not only healthy today, but the mother is also doing very well; her escalating blood pressure has been adequately controlled. “After the surgery, when I saw my daughter, she was so tiny and weighed 750 grams and was immediately placed in an incubator because she was just 28 weeks old. I was again skeptical whether she will survive, but she did,” Mohammed said.

According to Dr. Cinar, after the surgical process that lasted about 25 minutes, Mrs. Mohammed recovered fully in less than 12 hours.

Mohammed never seizes to appreciate the management of the hospital for the rare display of professionalism and competence. “This hospital is world-class and indeed a blessing to Nigeria, but for their intervention, I am sure I would have lost my wife and baby,” he said.

The Nigerian Turkish Nizamiye Hospital is the healthcare arm of the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges (NTIC). As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, the hospital has carried out major health interventions in rural communities in the FCT.