Health is wealth. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Please permit me to use this medium, to make a special appeal to banks, financial institutions, private investors, foreign investors, religious organizations, charity organizations etc to invest in the nation’s health sector. That is to build specialist(s) hospitals and possibly commercialize them. The author is making this special appeal because of the followings;
(A) My own little niece was evacuated in February of this year (2011) to a South African hospital, due to complications that arouse after her birth. She was only 3 weeks old, when she was evacuated. To make matters worst then, there was strike action by health workers at most government hospitals.
(B) Just today (1st August 2011) at about 17:00 hrs United Kingdom time, the author made a call to a Nigerian lady, at a hospital in New Delhi , India . As at the time of calling, she had spent a month at this hospital in India .
(C) As at the time of writing (1/8/11), the highly revered Ikemba Nnewi, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, is still in a London hospital. He has been in London hospital since December 2010.
(D) The late President Yar’Adua was evacuated to a Saudi Arabian hospital. He spent nearly 3 months there.
The list is endless. Since the government cannot equip, maintain and train health workers to international standards then, a vacuum exists that the private sector should fill. Healthcare can be very expensive; therefore, the author supports profits maximization by any private investor in our health care industry. This cannot be compared to flying to India , UK , USA , South Africa , Saudi Arabia etc for overseas treatment. The private sector has done well in most industries, examples include, telecommunication, education (private schools, tertiary and universities), banking, transport, etc. Therefore, their next target should be the health sector. The religious organizations should also consider establishing, specialist(s) hospitals of international standards. The author is aware that some churches have already built hospitals, but more specialist centres are needed from them.
Not too long ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced plans to build a poultry farm, which upon completion will be the largest in Nigeria . This is part of CBN diversification project. The author agrees with the central bank on this project. After all, “We don’t need more bankers. What we need are more farmers” (Time Magazine, July 11, 2011 Edition. Page 40). The Central Bank should seriously consider building a world class hospital in Nigeria , at least to stem the tide of capital flights occasioned by overseas treatments.
This might be out of their scope, but there will be nothing wrong if the CBN takes the lead, or use policy instruments to support the establishment of world class hospitals in Nigeria. The time is now. May God bless Nigeria .
Chinedu Vincent Akuta.
An Activist and Citizens Journalist.
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