With medical tourism costing Nigerians at least $1 billion every year, the launch of a new branch of Clina Lancet in Abuja is a game-changer, writes Sunday Ehigiator
very year, Nigeria loses a whooping sum of $1 billion to medical tourism as hundreds of Nigerians troop abroad in search of medical and diagnostic treatments. Despite various promises by past and present administrations at local, state and federal levels to provide reliable and effective health systems regarding medical and diagnostic treatments, the hordes of Nigerian nationals leaving Africa’s most populous nation to seek health care delivery remain.
The last protracted visit of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari to the United Kingdom for medical and diagnostic treatment still looms large in the mind. His repeated visits to his favourite hospital in London are a testament that all is not well with the country’s health system. Some 20 years ago, Nigeria along with a couple of other African nations at a parley agreed to a pledge: that at least 15 percent of their annual budget would be dedicated to health care.
That has yet to materialise. It is little wonder that each year, from India to USA; from Britain to Germany; From South Africa to China, Nigerians have continued to place their hopes in foreign nations to stay healthy and keep living. The World Health Organisation (WHO), ranked Nigeria as 187 out of 190 in the health index. All that is changing gradually as Clina Lancet Laboratories was opened recently.
To put the emergence of Clina Lancet in Nigeria’s health care ecosystem in context, an anecdote will suffice.
At a restaurant, six medical doctors were discussing a man limping across a road. One of the doctors said: “From the way the man is walking, he should be suffering from left knee arthritis.”
But another objected: “No. No. It must be plantar facitis.”
The debate spread as a third doctor noted: “From what I could discern, the man has suffered an ankle sprain.”
Yet another doctor in the group stated: “My colleagues, just look at the way the man is walking: it’s obvious he can’t lift his knee. Apparently, he has lower motor neuron lesion.”
The fifth one stated: “I will conclude that the man is grappling with hemiplegia scissors gait.”
While the sixth doctor was about to give his medical verdict, the subject of their clinical calculations walked in, asking the restaurant attendants: “Please, is there a cobbler around that can repair the sandals I’m wearing?”
The history of medical misdiagnosis is long and unending in Nigeria, filled with the graves of prominent and obscure Nigerians.
However, with the grand opening of the new and modern diagnostic facility of Clina-Lancet Laboratories (a member of the Cerba-Lancet Africa Joint Venture) on December 10, 2019 in Abuja, many a Nigerian doctor does not need to depend on mental or historical calculations to diagnose.
Cerba healthcare has decided to invest substantially by building a local network of clinical pathology laboratories on the African continent. To illustrate its commitment and readiness, the group of laboratories which cut across Nigeria is ISO certified to ISO 15189 standards in recognition of process and procedures at par with global standards. The attestation to the value this expansion adds to the healthcare space is validated by its international accreditation by SANAS 15189: 2012.
Clina Lancet Laboratories, an ultramodern technologically- advanced and independent pathology laboratory in Lagos, unveiled its world-class facility in Abuja at 1, Yedseram Crescent (Opposite Farmers Market) Maitama to provide laboratory services of international standards with 100% accurate and reliable test results at all times. Maitama is strategically positioned to serve healthcare, corporate and environmental service delivery in the FCT and the public.
Besides Abuja and Lagos, Clina Lancet Laboratories have branches in Port Harcourt and Warri. As a long-standing group of laboratories, the leading medical diagnostics firm in Nigeria is focused on clinical pathology and providing over 4,000 test offerings covering haematology, chemical pathology, endocrinology, histology, molecular biology, cytogenetic, microbiology among others. Its goal is to provide medical laboratory, consultative and referral services with the most extensive range of tests available.
Not a few agreed that with the diagnostics firm’s spread across Nigeria’s geopolitical zones, medical tourism, brain drain and depletion of foreign exchange will be reduced.
Speaking at the launch of the firm’s ultramodern centre in Abuja, the MD/CEO of Clina-Lancet Laboratories, Dr. Olayemi Dawodu, pointed out that the strategic role the new outlet plays in the company’s commitment to provide its quota in the delivery of universal health coverage by rendering quality world-class diagnostic services in Nigeria.
A similar view was shared at the launch by the CEO of Cerba Lancet Africa, Stephane Carre.
The DCEO of Cerba Healthcare, Jerome Thill, expressed the belief that as Cerba Healthcare continues to build on its past experience and partnership with experts to expand clinical pathology in Africa and deploy a quality service to the medical community, Nigerians and other resident in the country will be the better for it.
Dawodu explained further: “Clina Lancet Laboratories is committed to providing its quota to the delivery of universal health coverage by rendering quality world-class diagnostic services to Nigerians. Our decision to open a new branch here in Abuja is in line with our vision and commitment to provide international standard services. As an organization, we are looking forward to serving the good people of Abuja.”
Carre was full of praise for the invited guests who graced the occasion saying, “We thank all dignitaries and guests for taking out time to be present at this unveiling. We are also making plans to put in place grassroots quality healthcare not only in FCT but across the nation.”
The grand opening of the new branch was graced by leaders from the healthcare sector, members of the public and private sectors, diplomatic community and other stakeholders.
They included representative of the Nigeria Medical Association’s President, Prof. Francis Adedayo Faduyile; Dr. Phillip Ekpe; Chairman NMA FCT, Abuja, the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquir; MD of the NNPC Clinic, Dr. Musa Shaibu; Dr. Adaeze Oreh, FMOH; Dr. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Director Competition and Consumer
Protection Council; and Dr. Olumide Okunlola, Senior Medical Adviser, IFC/World Bank.
Others were Dr. Banji Filani, Technical Adviser Basic Healthcare Coverage Fund; Vivian Ihekweazu of Nigeria Health Watch; and medical directors of several public and private health institutions.
Pix: Clina Lancet Lab.jpgCAPTION: L-R: NMA Chairman, Abuja representing the National President, Dr. Uche Ekpe; Medical Director, Obisus Medical Services, Ejiro Kragha-Ogomigo; CEO, Cerba Lancet Africa, Stephane Carre; Managing Director, NNPC Medical Services, Dr. Shaibu Musa; MD/CEO, Clina Lancet Nigeria, Dr. Olayemi Dawodu; Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Jérôme Pasquier; Senior Health Policy Advisor, Federal Ministry of Health, Adaeze Oreh; DG Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Dr. Babatunde Irukera; Deputy Senior Executive Officer, Cerba Lancet Africa, Jerome Thill and General Manager and COO, Cerba Lancet Africa, Matthieu