Edo State Acting Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, has said the state government’s focus on the primary healthcare sector is aimed at meeting basic health needs and relieving pressure on tertiary healthcare institutions in the state.
Shaibu said this during a courtesy visit by a delegation of the Congolese Embassy led by the Congolese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Jacques Obinza, at the Government House, in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The acting governor said any nation that wants to survive must invest in its people, noting, “We are taking our Primary healthcare seriously. We are experimenting with 20 Primary Healthcare Centres across the state. Our focus is to bring quality and affordable healthcare closer to the people. Success in this will mean a lot for the tertiary healthcare sector.”
“We welcome you to our state and we are happy that you are here for a cause we believe in, which is bone marrow transplant. We are equally happy that our son is at the forefront, leading research on bone marrow transplant.”
The acting governor assured the Congolese Ambassador of the state government’s readiness to collaborate with his country to drive development, noting, “We are building infrastructure to ensure we create the enabling environment to woo investors to the state. If we are able to collaborate and do exchange programmes, the African economy will certainly grow.”
Ambassador Jacques Obinza said he is in the state to assess the facilities at the privately-managed sickle cell centre, CELLTEK Health Care Center, which has recorded successes in bone marrow transplant, so as finetune arrangement on collaboration and training, with a bid to ensuring a similar centre is established in Congo.
Obinza said, “I am here to ensure improvement in the health sector of the Congo. I am here to visit the sickle cell centre in Benin City, to see the facilities on ground and possibly sign an agreement to train our people in bone marrow transplant.”
Medical Director, CELLTEK, Prof. Godwin Bazuaye said the visit was a follow-up to his visit to the Congo where he delivered a paper on bone marrow transplant, which attracted the country’s interest in wanting to collaborate with Nigeria to assist them in establishing a sickle cell centre to treat bone marrow issues.
Prof. Bazuaye said the first bone marrow transplant was done at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) Nigeria in 2011 on a seven-year-old girl. He said the process was on for four years but stopped due to funding and logistics.
“We have done six successful bone marrow transplants in CELLTEK in Benin City and have achieved 100 per cent success. We have patients from Ghana and two other African countries. We intend to make Edo State a hub of bone marrow transplant in Africa,” he added.