Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has tasked the Federal Government to give priority to strengthening public health institutions, saying Nigerians that cannot afford medical treatment overseas don’t deserve to die.
The governor said any government that recognises the centrality of public health and its critical role in nation building will ensure equitable access to basic healthcare for citizens, especially the poor and vulnerable.
Wike stated this, yesterday, after inspecting ongoing construction work at the multibillion naira, Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre; the Basic Clinical Sciences and Clinical Sciences, the Renal and Pathology Departments for the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital in Port Harcourt.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, Wike said the State government’s huge investment in the tertiary hospital and public health infrastructure is aimed at making the State the hub for medical tourism in Nigeria.
“How many people can afford traveling overseas,” he queried. “We have all it takes to improve on our health sector and provide necessary facilities. We have doctors; so, all we need to do is training and retraining them. Look at how people troop to Government House Hospital in Port Harcourt. This is because the basic facilities are there and the doctors are willing and committed to working because of the environment they have found themselves.
“If you give our people the required environment and facilities, the tools to work, there is no need for us travelling overseas. When people come to Government House Clinic, they look at the facilities and say they are like those abroad. So, we can replicate it here in Nigeria.”
He declared that government must make it a priority to provide incentives and creation of enabling environment that can help ensure doctors and other medical experts do their job well.
He described the quality of work at Dr. Peter Odili Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre as very satisfactory.