The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, at the weekend, commissioned the Merry Ehanire Mother and Child Hospital, in Benin City, reassuring that ongoing reforms in the state’s health sector will reposition the state as a destination for medical tourism.
The hospital was named after the late Dame Merry Oritsetemeyin Ehanire, mother of Senator Daisy Ehanire-Danjuma.
The governor, who commended Senator Daisy Danjuma’s investment in the Edo’s health sector revolution, decried the continuous spending of over $2bn annually on medical tourism by Nigerians.
He said, “Listening to TY Danjuma speak, he said so many things in a very short speech. I heard him say it’s time for us to renew Nigeria and re-enact Nigeria. He said the country worked once and went to a hospital that works.
“This hospital we are commissioning today signifies more than a hospital and intervention in health care. For me, this hospital and facility signifies us re-establishing new standards for ourselves, state and country. We are using healthcare as a starting point.
“This hospital is significant. Beyond the facilities, the timing with our economy today is important because we may not be able to afford the $2bn or $3bn spent going abroad annually to seek treatment for ourselves, TY Danjuma and his lovely wife are leading the way.”
Obaseki called on Nigerian leaders to create the facilities and environment for care to discourage people from seeking medical care abroad.
The governor noted: “The facilities and environment we seek treatment abroad can be created here in Nigeria to treat ourselves.
“Nigerians are the only ones that can do it for ourselves. If we decide to migrate abroad, we would not have the manpower to renew our system as nobody will do it for us and if they do, it will be very expensive. I am happy this hospital is coming to existence in my time as governor of Edo State. It’s like a dream come true and I am fulfilled by this achievement.”
He continued, “Six years ago, we decided on a health improving programme for Edo State. When we look at the entire spectrum of the healthcare system particularly Benin City, which huge unique advantage can make the State a medical hub?
“Healthcare is not cheap; quality healthcare is expensive as somebody needs to pay for it. We have a medical school for 50 years that has trained manpower. Healthcare is beyond infrastructure but about people.
“In Edo, we enacted a law establishing a compulsory health insurance scheme which is now working in Edo State. We are urging all to key in.
“This facility has helped us set up the standard that we are aspiring to establish if Edo is to be a health hub because of the quality of facilities and services that this hospital will offer. It means there is a new benchmark to beat as anybody setting up a Hospital in the state must meet this standard as we are aspiring to ensure Stella Obasanjo Hospital meets this standard here,” Obaseki added.
On his part, Retired General Theophilus Danjuma, said, “We have competent staff from abroad who have agreed to come work here and we pray the management keeps them. May God help us to run and maintain the hospital properly.”
On her part, Senator Daisy Danjuma, said the standard of the hospital can compete with those outside the country as it will be of help to those in Edo and outside the State.
She said Nigeria ranks as the highest in terms of maternal and child mortality in the world as the hospital aims to reduce the rate.
“We put this standard to discourage you from traveling abroad as the facility here is better than some hospitals abroad. The Merry Ehanire Mother and Child Hospital has been built to significantly reduce the incidence of maternal and child mortality in Edo and Nigeria at large,” she noted.