The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has started what it described as a major national healthcare intervention project designed to halt medical tourism to foreign destinations through the provision of state-of-the-art hospitals and diagnostic centres across the country.
The corporation stated that the medical venture plan has a five-year gestation period for the project to achieve substantial impact in Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system.
According to it in a statement from its Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu in Abuja, the first of the plan would include occupational health designed to specifically service NNPC staff, their dependents and retirees.
It added that all current NNPC clinics would fall under this scheme and are presently being upgraded to reflect the new realities.
The second scheme involves some key NNPC hospitals like the erstwhile Abuja International Diagnostic Centre (AIDC) and the Benoni Hospital in Benin City which are being equipped to service both NNPC staff and outsiders because of their projected excess capacity.
The third leg of the medical project which has been designated as new business, the corporation stated will involves locations where state-of-the-art hospitals and diagnostic centres will be constructed on NNPC unutilised lands in Kaduna, Mosimi and Port Harcourt for commercial purposes.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said he was delighted by the development being spearheaded by the NNPC Medicals. He noted the project would impact on the bottom line of the corporation in the long run.
Baru, affirmed that apart from the financial benefits the project promises, it also underlined the progress being made in the transformation efforts to reposition NNPC as a fully integrated company of the future.
The statement further informed that the Abuja International Diagnostic Centre is being reconfigured to assume the status of a national flagship medical mall. Upon completion, it added that the centre will warehouse top class health care providers in cardiovascular, oncology, renal dialysis, and radiology and lab services.
NNPC said the plan would essentially make AIDC a hub for other clinics through telemedicine.
“This process allows the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations with the support of telecommunications and information technology infrastructure.
“It will enable the healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients without the need for an in-person visit,” it added.
Quoting the Chief Operating Officer, NNPC Ventures, Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, it said the new-found medical vision was modelled as well as inspired in part by successes recorded in other jurisdictions like Saudi Arabia, where the state oil company, Saudi Aramco, partners John Hopkins to provide best medical care for its staff and residents of other Middle East countries.
“NNPC has 52 clinics/hospitals, the largest network of healthcare facilities in Nigeria which is enough capacity for us to build on, upgrade the facilities and achieve our commercialization dream. “The aim is to reduce to zero, medical tourism and the accompanied capital flight with a view to retaining the money in Nigeria while also improving NNPC’s revenue,’’ said Adeniran.