The Chief Medical Director of University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Darlington Obaseki, says the hospital conducted its first open heart surgery in January 2023.
Obaseki said this on Tuesday in Benin at the 50 percent subsidized specialized surgeries’ inauguration as part of activities for the 50th anniversary of the hospital to be held in May.
The CMD said the medical bill of one of the three patients for the open heart surgery was subsidized by the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Phillip Shaibu.
He commended the Deputy Governor for being a pillar of support to UBTH and for also supporting the 50 percent subsidized specialized surgeries.
Obaseki said the 50 percent subsidy on specialized procedures such as Endoscopic and Laparoscopic surgeries, Colonoscopy, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) among others would be done till the end of February.
“We started since the beginning of this month. As of today, we have 115 patients for surgeries, anybody screened and certified free to undergo surgery would benefit from the programme,” he said.
The CMD said that although Nigeria could take care of its citizens’ health needs, the medical tourism situation was responsible for citizens’ inability to place value on what they had.
“We need to advertise ourselves because the general society doesn’t seem to reckon on the medical professionals in Nigeria, we are up to the task, not until we travel,” he said.
According to him, the country is losing so much money to medical tourism when there are qualified medical personnel in Nigeria.
“There is a new report on the health market in Nigeria commissioned by Pharmaset Foundation which indicated that Nigeria is losing huge money to medical tourism.
“As of 2021, the value of the medical tourism market, the amount of Money Nigerians spend going to seek healthcare abroad is $1.9 billion annually.”
“Every month, 9,000 Nigerians seek medical care outside Nigeria and the majority of them go to India.
“The question is why do they go out to seek care? Some of the things they go out for are the things we are doing here.”
He said that Nigerians must learn to contribute cheerfully to the health sector, adding that a true philanthropist was the one who contributed to the health needs of his people.
Also speaking, the Deputy Governor, Shaibu commended the CMD for breaking new grounds in the health sector and for making the hospital a centre of excellence.
He said that the state government had always leveraged on the facilities, expertise of the personnel and technological advancements of the hospital to drive health reform in the state.
Shaibu also called on Nigerians to show love by contributing their quota to the development of the health sector.
Lucky Adubi, one of the patients, who benefitted from the subsidized specialized surgeries, commended the hospital for making him see the light at the end of the tunnel.
He sought for sustainability of the subsidized surgeries so as to give succour to the poor. (NAN)