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Buhari: How brain drain affects provision of quality healthcare in Africa

Buhari: How brain drain affects provision of quality healthcare in Africa
December 07
18:17 2021

President Muhammadu Buhari says brain drain has created a gap in the provision of quality medical treatment in Africa. 

Buhari said this on Tuesday during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE), a hospital project that aims to transform the healthcare sector in the West African sub-region.

The project is being implemented by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in partnership with the federal government, King’s College Hospital, London, University of Wisconsin Teaching Hospital, USA and Christie Hospital, Manchester. 

Speaking virtually, Buhari said the “flight of doctors and nurses to other continents” and inadequate medical infrastructure have created poor access to quality healthcare and increased death rates from diseases such as diabetes and cancer in Africa.

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“Cardiovascular ailments, cancers and hematological disorders have increasingly become matters of concern to public healthcare. These ailments are now the highest contributors to non-communicable disease (NCD) mortalities, representing more than 81 percent of all NCD deaths in West Africa,” he said.

“The World Health Organisation projects that deaths on the African continent attributable to cancer and diabetes are expected to rise over the next 10 years. The rising NCD burden coupled with inadequate medical infrastructure on the continent threatens the future of our people. 

“This problem is further exacerbated by the significant brain drain experienced by the continent. The flight of doctors and nurses to other continents has resulted in a significant gap between the required treatments for NCDs and the available treatments and care.

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“The above challenges combine to create a regional health market with poor access to critical services and low perception of quality of care available.’’

The president, however, said stronger partnership with the private sector will help in improving health facilities on the continent, adding that the AMCE, when completed, will provide world-class medical services at par with the world’s best hospitals.

He thanked the management of Afreximbank and all the partners for their commitment to Africa, and for the action-oriented approach to resolving the challenges that the continent faces on its path to development.

“The success of the AMCE will pave the way for future investments and partnerships in the sector while raising the local standard of healthcare and providing a blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria’s and Africa’s healthcare and economic challenges,” he said.

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“The AMCE represents a return to fundamentals, and the understanding that there is no African development agenda without able-bodied Africans to execute our vision of transformation.”

On his part, Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, said all hands are on deck to ensure that the project is actualised in a way that is beneficial to all parties.   

In his remarks, Benedict Oramah, president of Afreximbank, said the facility will contribute significantly to the provision of quality healthcare for Africans.

“The ceremony is one step towards self-reliance for Africa’s healthcare delivery. The project will pool world-class technology and global talents, particularly the African diaspora, to provide a full spectrum of quality medical services in oncology, hematology, cardiology, and general healthcare services,” he said.

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He added that the AMCE will also engage in world-class research, offer educational services to develop talent, and catalyse the emergence of top healthcare delivery in Nigeria and in Africa. 

Lorcan Woods, chief financial officer, King’s College Hospital (KCH), promised that KCH will do everything to support Afreximbank and Nigeria in establishing the new AMCE to become a beacon of excellence in West Africa. 

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