The Bayelsa State government has entered into a strategic partnership with Medshare, an American medical facilities services company based in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States of America.
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, in a press release signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Francis Ottah Agbo, said the partnership with Medshare is for the equipping of six referral hospitals and other health centres in the state, repair and maintenance of existing equipment, training of medical technicians and personnel as well as medical intervention teams to perform surgeries and other medical assistance programmes.
The governor, who was conducted on a facility tour of the company by the President/Chief Executive Officer, Charles Redding and the Vice President, Corporate and International Relations, Nell Diallo, said the strategic collaboration would ensure that Bayelsa had the best medical facilities in Nigeria.
“When I took over as governor of Bayelsa State in 2012, there was not a single functional heath centre in the local government areas of the state and the one in Yenagoa, the state capital, was not operating at full capacity.
“Today, despite the challenging recession facing the country, we have built six referral hospitals in six local government areas and are in the process of building two more in order to have one in each local government area of the state.
“My desire is to have these hospitals operational by the end of this year and by next year, I plan to have a neighbourhood health centre in each of the wards of the state in order to take healthcare closer to the people.
“I have also built one of the most sophisticated diagnostic centres in the country today. I have rebuilt the Government House clinic into a 100-bed public specialist hospital, fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and it is open to the general public,” the governor said.
He stated that his administration will give the 500-bed hospital, which has been re-modelled to a 350-bed hospital that he inherited form his predecessors, special attention working hand in hand with Medshare.
He requested for a team of specialists to immediately come to Nigeria to asses the equipment and facilities on ground, overhaul them to ensure they are operational and functional as well as make recommendations for the procurement of new equipment that may be required.
The governor insisted that this task was crucial in line with his ongoing medical tourism revolution and that the hospital will be completed and commissioned next year.
He further stated that in order to ensure proper maintenance of the facilities also built, private consultants were engaged to manage some of them and to ensure proper maintenance and delivery of quality healthcare.
Governor Dickson informed his hosts that to make these world class facilities available to the ordinary Bayelsan, a health insurance scheme backed by legislation is in place, which is the first by any state in Nigeria.
There is also a five per cent contribution from the state’s internally generated revenue to ensure adequate funding for the scheme.
In his remarks, the Vice President of MedShare, Nell Diallo, commended the governor for his passion and visionary activities in the provision of affordable healthcare for the people of Bayelsa.
She promised to work closely with the governor’s team to ensure the actualisation of his vision of providing affordable healthcare for the state.
She stated that her organisation is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people globally through delivery of medical supplies, equipment, biomedical training and service to over 100 countries.
Diallo promised to support the state in the area of maternal and child health, primary healthcare, infectious disease control and prevention, technical training and medical intervention teams for surgeries.
She challenged large American corporations, especially those doing business in Nigeria, to carry out their corporate social responsibility by supporting developmental activities of the states.
She assured that her organisation would partner with the state government to mobilise corporate support in the United States for the governor’s health initiative in order sustain the huge investments in the sector.
The governor was accompanied by the Nigeria Consular General in the US, Ambassador Kayode Karo, the former congressman,Elder Statesman, Joe Beasley and the Deputy Chief of Staff, Ebizi Ndiomu-Brown and the Chief Economic Adviser, Dr Duate Patmore Iyabi.
Others on the entourage are the Managing Director of the Bayelsa State Investment Development Corporation (BDIC), Mr Tam Alazigha, and the BDIC Secretary, Mrs Funkazi Koroye-Krooks, Governor’s Personal Physician and Medical Consultant, Dr Ernest Aniede, and two Nigerian businessmen based in the America, Mr Kese Jabari and Rick Iyogun.