Atiku Must Tread With Caution, Medical Practitioner Warns


Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

An Abuja-based medical practitioner, Dr. Biodun Ogungbo has called on former Vice-President and presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar to tread with caution over the sealed partnership with Saudi- German Hospital, Dubai, to establish a world class medical facility in Abuja.

Ogungbo who stated this in a statement made available to THISDAY, said the move will not be in the best interest of Nigerians ‎as the facility will become a referral centre. And conduit exploitation which will further promote medical tourism to Dubai for expensive medical treatment.

While commending the initiative of the former Vice-President, which is expected to build a 100-bedded hospital, Ogungbo further disclosed that such partnerships based on antecedents will not be interested in building local capacity or transfer knowledge and enhance local healthcare delivery but will bypass weak regulations and control systems using political clout for financial inducements.

He said: “Opening up the Nigerian healthcare space and healthcare practitioners to unsafe competition will do nothing to reverse medical tourism. Instead, it will accelerate it, making life even more difficult for Nigerian doctors and Nigerians as a whole.

“SGH is not interested in building local capacity otherwise they will act as foreign technical partners to Nigerian hospitals, to transfer knowledge and enhance local healthcare delivery. Partnering with a politician shows disdain for our doctors and local healthcare practitioners. It will allow SGH to bypass our weak regulations and control systems using political clout and financial inducements. It will not help the Nigerian you wish to serve.

“Instead, it will help SGH make Nigeria great to pillage Nigeria! Governments all over the world put their communities first. They ensure protection of local content and curtail unbridled capitalism by foreigners. They put systems and regulations in place to protect the local economy. It is only in Nigeria that politicians and government do not ensure local businesses and practitioners are not disadvantaged by unfair competition.

“This deal the SGH is seeking is the classic funnelling technique that has been used in the past by other cowboys. It has been used against the UAE by London hospitals through technical jargon like ’joint venture’,” he said.

‎Furthermore, he lamented that “The Aso Rock Clinic or State House Medical Centre is another hospital that has not demonstrated fitness for purpose.

“We have the money and have spent loads on these and similar hospitals all over the country. To really improve things, we need to improve local treatment for trust and confidence in healthcare practice in Nigeria. We need to partner with hospitals and organisations that will train local healthcare practitioners work in Nigeria,” he added.