Medical Tourism: The Rivers Initiative


The recent revelation that Rivers State
Government has fine tuned moves to
end the frequent overseas medical trips by Rivers people and other Nigerians, and make the state the hub of medical tourism in Africa is indeed heart-warming.
Acknowledging the giant strides being made by the Rivers State Government on medical tourism, the National Coordinator of International Trauma Care Centre (ITCC), Dr. Sydney Ibeanusi had told journalists during a medical facility tour that the state government had already equipped two hospitals, the Kelsey Harrison Hospital in Diobu and the Dental and Maxillo-Facial Specialist Hospital at Garrison, all in Port Harcourt, with world-class medical equipment and experts to handle critical matters.
Said he: “Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has provided for Nigerians two world-class medical facilities. The hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that cannot be found elsewhere in sub-saharan Africa.”
“With these hospitals fully open for service,” Dr. Ibeanusi continued, “Rivers State will become a tourism destination for Nigerians seeking medical attention as  a lot of Nigerians will prefer coming to the state and will no longer like travelling overseas for medical treatment.”
The ITCC coordinator had hinted that both the Kelsey Harrison Hospital and the Dental and Maxillo-Facial Hospital have taken off fully. Both hospitals, he further hinted, are managed by the ITCC with its own foreign experts for a period of 20 years, during which it would train its local personnel to take over from the foreign experts.
That Rivers State was becoming a new hub for medical tourism has eminently corroborated the promise of the state government to make some unmistakable statements with the health sector in the state.
The Tide notes with satisfaction that while the standard of both hospitals compares favourably with the best anywhere in the world, the Karibi Whyte Specialist Hospital being built at the Greater Port Harcourt Area would provide for our people the services for which some people go to seek medical attention overseas.
We also applaud the Rivers State Government for the re-assurance by the state Health Ministry that the idea behind the two hospitals was to ensure quality medicare for the people at minimal cost.
Indeed, these efforts, in addition to the hundreds of model training centres across the state and the massive training of medical personnel, clearly positions Rivers State for the giant leap in healthcare supply for which this administration cannot be commended enough.
The Tide expects other states of the federation to borrow a leaf from Rivers State as knee surgeries are now successfully done here while MRS Scan that takes a lot of people out of the country are also available here including of course access to medicare which has since been expanded.
Government’s emphasis in this regard is significant when viewed against the backdrop of the fact that many lives can be saved owing to the inability of some patients to access the needed treatment overseas. It also saves foreign exchange, develops local manpower and restores Nigeria’s image, at least, to the extent that local personnel can be respected.
Nevertheless, The Tide, believing that healthcare is holistic, advises that the effort being made in providing facilities and manpower should also be complemented with the supply of genuine drugs. In this way, the world will come to Rivers State to be treated instead of flying anywhere else, where some even come back worse.