Lagos to establish specialised medical centres to curb medical tourism

May 23, 2024

The Lagos State Government has announced plans to establish specialised centres that offer advanced medical treatments and technologies typically sought overseas, to retain healthcare spending within the region and attract international patients.

This was disclosed on Wednesday by the state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, during the 2024 Annual Ministerial Press Briefing, held in commemoration of the first-year anniversary of the second term in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Administration in Lagos.

He said that the initiative was under its Centres of Excellence and Medical Tourism Initiative, which forms a crucial part of the government’s strategic efforts to position the state as a hub for high-quality healthcare services in West Africa.

The commissioner explained that the initiative involves setting up centres of excellence in various high-demand specialties such as cardiology, oncology, orthopaedics, and neurology.

Abayomi affirmed that the centres would be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and staffed by specialists trained to deliver care at global standards.

According to him, the government was keen to see the initiative replicated in the private sector and was exploring opportunities for creating an economic environment that encourages the private sector to follow suit.

He added, “An excellent example of this initiative is the proposed Comprehensive Cancer Centre, slated to be located at Alausa in Ikeja.

“This facility is designed to provide a full spectrum of cancer care services, from early detection and diagnosis through various treatment modalities to palliative care.

“This centre aims to reduce the need for Nigerians and residents of neighbouring countries to travel abroad for cancer treatment, thereby retaining healthcare expenditure within the local economy and attracting patients from other regions.”

Abayomi emphasised that the initiative would boost the local economy and also enhance the state’s reputation as a medical hub.

He said, “To ensure that the centres of excellence are on par with international healthcare facilities, Lagos State is engaging in partnerships with reputed healthcare institutions from around the world.

“These collaborations help in the transfer of knowledge, medical expertise, and technological advancements.”

The commissioner further said that significant investments are being made into healthcare infrastructure, including the construction of facilities specifically designed to cater to the needs of international patients.

Abayomi said this includes the development of patient-friendly spaces, high-end accommodation facilities, and other amenities that enhance the medical tourism experience.

He revealed that to support the centres, the state was implementing strict regulatory measures and quality assurance systems to maintain high standards of medical care.

The commissioner said this includes regular accreditation of facilities and continuous professional development for medical staff, through its regulatory agencies such as Health Facilities Monitoring and Accreditation Agency.

He disclosed that the state would explore and implement innovative financing models to fund healthcare projects, ensuring sustainable health financing.

Abayomi noted that the initiative plays a critical role in overcoming financial barriers to healthcare access and facilitating the expansion of high-quality healthcare services.

He added, “We are exploring the possibility of green climate funds which are utilised to finance health projects that also have a positive environmental impact, such as creating eco-friendly hospital facilities or integrating sustainable energy solutions into existing health services.”

According to him, the state is engaging its diaspora by encouraging investments back into the local health sector through diaspora health funds.

While reaffirming the state government’s unwavering commitment to transforming the health landscape of Lagos, the commissioner said the initiative harnesses the financial and intellectual resources of the diaspora to improve healthcare facilities and services.

SOURCE:PUNCH

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