Medical Tourism: FG To Partner Akwa Ibom On Operation Of Ibom Specialist Hospital

Ibom Specialist HospitalThe federal government has expressed interest in partnering with the Akwa Ibom State Government on the operations of Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo, to discourage medical tourism abroad.
The world class Ibom Specialist Hospital was built by the immediate past administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio to boost health service delivery and make the state the hub of medical tourism in the country.
Impressed with the quality of facilities at the hospital, the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, who carried an inspection visit to the facility in Uyo, the state capital, said with what he saw on ground, medical tourism abroad could be reversed.
“Visiting the hospital complex today is an eye opener, there is no such complex like this anywhere in Nigeria”, the minister said.
Adewole announced that with the proposed partnership, no Nigerian would be allowed to travel overseas for medical treatment on government sponsorship from Jan. 2017.
“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”, he said.
The minister also warned medical doctors to desist from running a syndicate of sending people abroad for treatment for pecuniary interests.
However, he said that individuals could go abroad on their own expenses if they so wish but not on government sponsorship.
The minister also said that the state-owned Diagnostic Centre at Ikot Ekpene would be converted to Lassa Fever Diagnostic Centre.
Adewole lauded the 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).
Earlier, the minister and his entourage had paid a courtesy visit on Governor Udom Emmanuel at Government House.
Mr. Emmanuel had appealed for assistance from the federal government to make the state a healthcare tourism destination in Nigeria.
He noted that 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.