BY RUKAYYA BAWA DAKINGARI
In Nigeria today, there has been a debate on the quality of healthcare services and the menace of medical tourism that gulps an estimated N400 billion annually. As mind-boggling as this figure is, it is the starkness of the reality on the ground.
With the effect of medical tourism on the economy of Nigeria, we must tell ourselves the truth and begin to look at alternatives in the area of quality medical services in the country. In my opinion, one of such alternatives is the Nizamiye Hospital situated in Abuja, the federal capital territory.
At first visit to the hospital, you could mistake it for a five-star hotel with its laminated floors, abstract paintings on the walls, and a courteous reception area that is designed for beginning a healing process. According to available information, it costs a whopping $35 million to establish. Also, it is worth every bit of it.
The hospital is well-equipped with state of the art medical equipment’s, and it’s over 18 clinics speaks volume of a hospital poised to deliver world-class medical services to Nigerians. This much the public relations officer of the hospital, Mohammed Abubakar confirmed in an interview with one of the national newspapers. He stated that “the Nizamiye hospital boasts of a remarkably brilliant workforce. From our consultants to doctors, nurses, laboratory attendants, everyone one has distinguished him or herself. We took time to source for the best hands because we pride ourselves as a world-class medical facility.”
This much can be confirmed upon a visit to the hospital where all the polyclinics are headed by experienced expatriate consultants that have indeed distinguished themselves in their areas of specialization. The catch for me is the One-Stop Cardiac Centre that consists of a Cath lab, interventional cardiologists, and a cardiovascular surgeon.
The Cardiac Centre of the hospital is credited to have performed scores of successful cardiac procedures that include Coronary Angiography, aortic valve replacement, and coronary bypass (Open Heart Surgery). Upon realization of these, one begins to wonder why Nigerians still troop abroad for medical procedures that can be handled here in Nigeria.
The Nizamiye hospital also boasts of specialization in pediatrics, ENT, Throat and Neck Surgery, Neurology, Orthopedic Surgery, Anesthesiology and Algology, Urology and Ophthalmology, amongst a host of other services. Also, the recent introduction of a Pulmonary Clinic to handle diseases of the lungs, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and tuberculosis explain the uniqueness of the hospital.
This is indeed a welcome development and an indication that the Nigerian health space isn’t as bad as we think. The Nizamiye Hospital is just one out of the many private hospitals that render top-quality medical services in Nigeria. But what stands the Nizamiye out is the fact that it can be said to be the only hospital in Nigeria that has over 20 expatriate consultants that are resident within the hospital premises, and rendering services 24/7.
The Open Heart Surgery Team of the Hospital led by a world renowned cardio vascular surgeon is top notch. The fact that the team is resident in Nigeria distinguishes it from other private hospitals the provide such services, and who normally would fly in consultants and after the procedure they return due to the cost implication. However, for Nizamiye hospital, it is an unflinching commitment to the development of the health sector in Nigeria.
There is also aside the fact that for a procedure like Open Heart Surgery, the critical part is post operation care, if not properly managed the patient might lose his or her life. And this in a way explains why the hospital is always flooded with patients who have gone abroad for medical procedures and cannot go back for follow-up treatment that they resort to Nizamiye hospital for post operation management.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Nizamiye hospital is indeed a world-class medical center and its services can be compared to what is obtainable in parts of Europe and America. This is indeed a welcome development and a testament to its meaningful contributions to the development of the health sector in Nigeria.
I stand to be corrected. There are a few individuals or organizations that would commit such enormous resources to provide Nigerians with quality medical services. But the promoters of Nizamiye Hospital have indeed broken that jinx. They spared no expenses in ensuring the quality of its workforce are top-notch as well as the array of modern medical equipment that dot the nook and cranny of the hospital.
For the promoters of Nizamiye hospital, it is about service, and this is exemplified in the way and manner that the hospital is expanding to conquer new grounds in the medical space in Nigeria. Their hands-on charity initiative is also worthy of mention.
The hospital as a CSR policy embarks on medical; outreach programs in collaboration with its sister agency, the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges Foundation to take healthcare to indigent people in rural areas weekly.
As part of the CSR initiative of the hospital, it also carries out a minimum of 5 free cataract surgeries to indigent people from across Nigeria every week. As at the last count, over 300 free cataract surgeries have been performed by the hospital. This is aside other medical interventions it has carried out in public schools, IDP camps, orphanages, and villages.
The management of the hospital never fails to appreciate the relevant authorities in Nigeria for providing the enabling environment for the hospital in its quest to providing trusted medical services to Nigerians. This much it has stated in numerous forums.
It is, therefore, my considered opinion that the impact of the Nizamiye Hospital brand in Nigeria has been phenomenal as well as lifesaving, and it behooves on all well-meaning Nigerians to see that it does not relent in its quest to continue to render world-class medical services in Nigeria. Anybody that loves Nigeria would indeed agree that the amount of money spent on medical tourism is capable of ruining our economy. Charity must indeed begin from home, and the Nizamiye Hospital is a worthy example.