The Special Adviser on Health to the Governor of Imo state, Dr Edward Ihejirika has said the redesigning of 27 general hospitals in the 27 local government areas of Imo State by Governor Rochas Okorocha will not only turn the state into a medical hub, but will redefine healthcare in Nigeria.
He said the hospitals, which are built to international standards and have the same outlook across all LGAs, have at least 100 bed space capacity each, and would be driven by a public private partnership arrangement; a difference from what obtains mostly in the country.
Dr. Ihejirika, who spoke in Lagos during the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria round table on the healthcare strategies in the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), said with most of the hospitals ready, plus an enabling environment, investors were required to key into it, design the kind of services they want and then run the facilities at no profit to the government.
“We know investors are often worried about getting involved with government, as they prefer to do their thing, but Gov. Okorocha saw this, and then decided to put political will to this project, by first removing it from the State Ministry of Health, and put it directly under the government house.
“So we then made sure we put in a tax rebase, liaise with the Federal Ministry of Finance so that if perhaps our investors are foreign they will not have issues in terms of remittance of whatever profit they make.
‘We don’t demand anything from the investor, instead we ask them to build what ever they have for the government into their corporate social responsibility and give back to the society, Nothing like signature bonus or bidding fee is asked of investors. All investors need is to come in, see the infrastructure and decide what kind of services they need to provide,” he added.
He said the investors were also at liberty to recruit their staff as long as such staff are also from the state, adding that, this on its part will be a source of job creation for the locals as well.
He said already the Nigerian Army, Navy and the Police have already indicated interest in some of the facilities, and that the governor has given one each to each of the security outfits that requested for them. “The facilities are already in stages of being equipped by these institutions to provide the kind of services they want.”
While stating that other private sector players from the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, India, among others have indicated interest, he called on other investors to take advantage of the arrangement, as the model will not only benefit Imo indigenous but will be medical destination for all other states around Imo.