By Asma’u Ahmad
The Federal Government said it will partner with the Akwa Ibom Government on the operations of Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo, to stop
Nigerians from seeking medical treatment abroad.
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, made this promise in Uyo while inspecting facilities at the state government’s owned Ibom Specialist Hospital.
Professor Adewole noted that with facilities at the Specialist Hospital, medical tourism abroad can be reversed.
“Visiting the hospital complex today is an eye opener, there is no such complex like this anywhere in Nigeria,” he said.
He announced that with the proposed partnership, no Nigerian would be allowed to go abroad for treatment on government sponsorship from January 2017.
He said: “We will partner to make sure that it works and reverses medical tourism. People from Ghana and Togo can come to Nigeria for
medical treatment. We will start using this facility, with this facility, no Nigerian will be allowed to go abroad for treatment.”
The minister warned medical doctors to desist from running a syndicate of sending people abroad for treatment for pecuniary interest.
He, however, said that individuals could go abroad on their own expenses if they so wish but not on government sponsorship.
Adewole said the state owned Diagnostic Centre at Ikot Ekpene would be converted to Lassa Fever Diagnostic Centre.
He commended that state government for constructing the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) at Ikot Ekpene to help reduce the pressure on the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH).
Receiving the minister in his office, the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, appealed for assistance from the Federal Government to make the state a healthcare tourism destination in Nigeria.
Mr. Emmanuel said the state government had invested much in the health sector and would like the federal government to help boost the
patronage of the Ibom Specialist Hospital.