July 8, 2014 – Lagos State Government has formally flung open the doors of its ultra modern cardiac and renal centre at Gbagada area of Lagos, for members of the public as part of effort to stop medical tourism abroad.
The facility which is designed to handle heart and kidney related disease also offers out-patient services, diagnostic services, ultrasound, CT scan, Echo cardiography, Stress Electrocardiography, laboratory services, fluoroscopy, ocular investigation for complications from hypertension, diabetes and renal conditions, haemo-dialysis for acute and chronic kidney diseases with 24 dialysis machine, admission for all cardiac conditions that requires hospital stay, critical care in intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency wards, cardiac catherization, non -invasive cardiology, open heart surgery, renal surgery, nursing and diabetic services, rehabilitation services and corporate wellness program.
While giving reasons for embarking on the project, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said he embarked on it so that Lagos can have a befitting cardiac and renal centre to cater for the increasing number of patients with renal failure.
“We have what we call double jeopardy but now it is triple jeopardy in the sense that we do not only have problems with communicable diseases, we are now having problems with non-communicable diseases, and the third one has to do with mental health. But this project is trying to address the major aspect of the non-communicable disease burden”.
Idris added that the non-communicable disease prompted the State government to embark on the screening of people for hypertension and diabetes stressing that the study from screening conducted State-wide showed that roughly 20% of the people who were screened were hypertensive and between 5 and 6% were diabetic.
“Not only that we do know that these two disease burden jointly cause serious complications in people who have these problems; and once you have these problems, you have them for live if they are not properly treated”, Idris explained.
Idris also opined that setting up of the facility will help bring home Nigerian medical specialist referring to it as ‘brain gain’ to defeat ‘brain drain’ phenomenon stressing that over the years quite a number of indigenous medical personnel have left the country for greener pastures outside of the country due to lack of infrastructure and facilities they could exhibit their skills with.
“We have over 2000 specialist in the United States, similar number in Europe and Canada. And this is one way of brain gain instead of brain drain because if you establish a facility with the right equipment and infrastructure, we can use that to attract the specialist abroad back home where they can exhibit their expertise and at the same time use to build local capacity here. That was the basic underlining reason why we decided to embark on this project”.
The Commissioner explained that the cardiac and renal centre building project started in 2008 when the contract was awarded to Messers Deaux Project Limited stressing that facility which was also equipped by the company will be managed privately through a five year operation and management concession by a suitably qualified competent consortium of medical professionals renewable for another five years, subject to satisfactory performance .
He noted that the need to get a suitably qualified competent consortium that has the needed requirement to run the facility prompted the state to opt for a public-private partnership agreement through the office of public-private partnership adding that this aim results in the appointment of Renescor Health Limited Liability Partnership to run and manage the facility.
Idris listed training of local medical personnel especially the establishment of a state government sponsored foreign capacity building for medical personnel as part of the concession agreement aside the operation and management concession.
The Commissioner for Finance who doubles as the Supervising Head for the Public-Private Partnership Office, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi noted that the reason for opting for qualified competent consortium of medical professionals to manage the facility through a PPP initiative was due to dearth of appropriate competent staff in this environment and the highly specialized nature of the equipment and services to be rendered within the facility.
He added that the PPP office is quite convince of the capabilities of the private managers stressing that they are expected to provide quality services in line with international best practices, promote medical tourism, provide training field to develop the capacity of state’s own health personnel and facilitate a gradual paradigm shift on dependence on foreign with the skilled empowerment of local professionals.
The Managing Director of Renescor Health Limited Liability Partnership Dr. Ladi Awosika who was present at the event to sign the concession agreement gave kudos to the State government for building the state-of-the-art facilities which he described as first of its kind in sub Saharan Africa besides South Africa and Angola.
He added that the cardiac and renal centre has been built to very good specification that specialists that have signed up with the company attest to, stressing that the centre has facility for tele-medicine which will make every procedure going on this facility to be reviewed by colleagues anywhere in the world thereby ensuring that training and cutting edge facility therapy will be available at the facility.
Awosika explained that Messers Renescour is made up mainly of Nigerians specialists who have been in the Diaspora and could not get any space to work in Nigeria stressing that when they saw what was on ground, they pledged to contribute their quota through the facility.
“As at today we have about 200 Nigerian specialists who have signed on to be a part of this. Some of them have decided that it will not even be for money, rather they will take one or two week vacation to be at this centre to impact their knowledge and skills to the people of Lagos in particular and Nigeria in general”, He said.
Awosika noted that more facilities of the magnitude of the cardiac and renal centre is required in the State to be able to satisfy the demand of more than 21 million resident of the States and promote medical tourism in Lagos. He thereafter pledged that his company will not let Lagos down.