Investment in health sector will reposition Edo as destination for medical tourism – Obaseki

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The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured that the renewed investment in the state’s healthcare system by the state government in collaboration with the private sector would make Edo State the preferred destination for medical tourism.

Governor Obaseki said this at the official commissioning of Benin Medical Care (BMC) Hospital and Diagnostic Center in Benin City.

He said in most part of the world, the bulk of medical providers are from the private sectors, adding, “While the government focuses on policies and primary healthcare delivery system, the private sector comes up with the investment in specialised areas of healthcare provision”.

The governor said the BMC will validate the effort the Obaseki-led administration has made in the health sector, noting that while his government launched the Edo Healthcare Improvement Programme (Edo-HIP), the Federal Government unveiled the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) to facilitate healthcare delivery to the people.

He said, “An average of 20,000 Nigerians travel abroad every year for medical assistance and the money spent runs into millions of dollars. It is possible for us in Nigeria to get the same quality of care that these people are traveling to other parts of the world to receive.

“It is said that 77 percent of black doctors in the US are Nigerians and they have achieved greater feats in a foreign land. We expect them to return to the country. This has necessitated the huge investment in the health sector, showing our seriousness to resolve the healthcare challenges in the nation.

“The medical profession in Nigeria has been hit by brain drain because a lot of our very qualified personnel don’t have facilities to work, so they travel to fulfil their medical dreams abroad.”

Obaseki said to check brain drain and encourage brain gain his administration has embarked on a review of the entire healthcare system and has decided to start from the foundation through investment in Primary Health Centers (PHCs).

“As a government, we will be collaborating with healthcare providers to ensure that within the next 24 to 30 months, a minimum of 230 to 300 designated PHCs across the state will be captured in the health insurance scheme. We have launched the first set and this is the new beginning of healthcare system in Edo State”.

Welcoming guests at the occasion, the Chairman, Board of Directors, BMC, Godwin Ehigiamusoe commended the governor for gracing the occasion, assuring him that the BMC will enhance the health status of Nigerians, especially Edo people, through the provision of quality medical services that are accessible and affordable.