Lagos state Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi says the solution to brain drain is to create the right enabling environment and infrastructure that foster professionalism in the Country’s health sector. This according to him is the solution to ‘Brain Drain’, a situation where professionals in the Country especially in the health sector are traveling out of the country in search of better work environment and greener pastures.
According to him, Lagos state has embarked on a drive to bring back the country’s Health Professionals as state-owned health facilities are currently being redesigned and positioned for proper healthcare delivery as well as to boost medical tourism.
He was speaking at the 18th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market held in Lagos.
Abayomi who spoke on the theme: “Medical Tourism and Lagos: How Lagos is Positioning for Medical Tourism” said the redesigning process of the health facilities would be done within five years.
“Our buildings are not properly designed for quality healthcare delivery. Our hospitals look like small waiting rooms and we all know we are in the age of climate change. “This redesigning process will boost medical tourism.
According to the Commissioner, all our designs now will have significant low carbon footprint, at least 50 per cent as good medical facilities are designed to reduce the spread of infectious diseases,
“We are redesigning our facilities such that it is keeping up with the climate change agenda to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and to rely more on designs to cool down the building and increase light into the building. This is so that we don’t need so much electricity and to reduce the cabon utility by 50 per cent.
He further explained that the move comes as part of efforts in keeping with the state and Federal target of reducing carbon emissions.
‘’All medical facilities in Lagos now are going to be designed and built with 50 per cent deeper carbon footprint. At the long run, people will also be attracted to visit Nigeria for medical tourism purposes. Also, our medical personnel who are leaving will eventually come back when they observe some level of improvement in the sector,” he said.
According to him, the Lagos Cardio-Renal Centre at Gbagada is one of the facilities to be redesigned as it will become the hub for the treatment of cardio and renal related diseases, like kidney and heart transplant.
He also noted that the General Hospital at Ojo and the new Massey Children’s Hospital at Adeniji Adele, Lagos Island, would be completed from 12 to 18 months. Also, we learnt from our experience during COVID-19 pandemic that we need medical facilities that can be quickly repositioned for alternative functions, to be quickly converted into isolation facilities.
”Our new design will see lots of perforations on the wall to give the rooms enough ventilation. The roof will have solar panels, the waiting rooms will be situated outside but covered so that there would be very little chance for one patient infecting the other,” he said.
Professor Abayomi further explained that the Lagos state government had also made plans to address the problem of brain drain and accelerate brain gain through the establishment of the psychiatric hospital and rehabilitation centre in Ketu, Ejirin.
” We have acquired a 15 hectares of land to build a 500-bed psychiatric hospital and 100-bed rehabilitation facility and the construction has commenced,” he said.
The commissioner noted that, to further position the state health care centres for medical tourism, the state was also installing high speed fiber optic cables throughout the state, targeted at strategic infrastructures for hospitals and clinics.
He noted that the major health challenges that allow people to travel out of the country for medical treatment was seen in Orthopedics, Cardiology and Urology.
” Lagos state is trying to address the reason Nigerians travel abroad for medical treatment, we have designed a strategy to reverse this through “Ship” platform. Ship means Smart Health Iinnovation Platform,” he said.
Another speaker at the event Mr Isah Usman, Director, Turkish Healthcare Travel Council, Abuja Network, spoke on the need for Tour Operators in the Country to consider the opportunities in domestic medical Tourism as Medical Tourism is not all about out bound travels. According to him, in order to boost to boost medical tourism in Africa, a sustainable intra-bound and in-bound medical tourism must be developed across the continent.
“As Africans, we need to take seriously, the issue of medical negligence, malpractices, medication error and healthcare fraud,” he said
Usman also emphasized the need for African governments must to create enabling environment for healthcare service providers.