PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned a state-of-the-art hospital at the State House, Abuja.
The facility is for the President and the Vice President and their families and other dignitaries.
The centre, named ‘Presidential/VIP Wing of the State House Medical Centre’, will boost health infrastructure in the country, the President said while inaugurating the project, in the company of top government functionalities and his wife, Aisha, on Friday, May 19.
A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, quoted the President as calling for the judicious use of the facility to maximise its benefits.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan conceptualised the facility in 2012, and Buhari’s government awarded the contract for its building to Julius Berger in August 2021.
The construction firm delivered the project in December 2022.
President Buhari toured the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (CathLab), Operating Rooms for regular and specialised procedures, Intensive Care Unit, Specialized Infectious Disease Isolation Suites, and Specialised consultation rooms, the statement stated.
He expressed satisfaction with the centre’s fully-equipped and operational medical facilities, noting that his government prioritised holistic health care in the past eight years.
The statement said the President also interacted with the local medical staff, who received specialised training on handling the advanced equipment available at the facility.
Buhari’s wife, Aisha, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Chief of Staff Prof Ibrahim Gambari, and the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Tijjani Umar, were among the dignitaries at the event.
“The First Lady also expressed her gratitude for the completion of the project, which she had advocated for six years ago when the President had to seek medical care abroad.
“She emphasised that the VIP Wing would provide medical services for the first family and leaders, reducing the need for overseas treatment and allowing international experts to complement the local medical staff.”
The ICIR reported that Buhari spent several weeks during his first term in office to receive treatment for an undisclosed ailment abroad.
He beat late President Umar Yar’Ardua’s medical tourism record at the time and has travelled many times for the same issue after that.
The President, who leaves office on May 29, returned to Nigeria on Tuesday, May 16, after his latest medical tourism routines.
Apart from Buhari, many other leaders in Nigeria travel abroad for treatment and other medical procedures.
On May 5, a UK court jailed Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice and the family’s doctor, Obinna Obeta, after finding them guilty of organ trafficking in March.
The convicts had illegally taken a 21-year-old street trader in Nigeria to the UK to donate his organ to Ekweremadu’s daughter, Sonia, who needed a kidney.
The ICIR reports that the old State House Clinic and several public hospitals in the country have failed to provide needed services for the citizens and leaders, many of who depend on foreign health facilities for survival.
Failure of the government to make the facilities function optimally has led to an unprecedented brain drain among health professionals, especially the most experienced.
Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He’s a good governance and decent society advocate. He’s the ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].