The Lagos State government has pledged to support any initiative aimed at increasing middle management surgical capacity across West Africa.
Making the pledge in Ikeja, Governor Babatunde Fashola said such increase in trained middle management surgeons would help check capital flight as a result of people seeking treatment abroad from the sub-region.
Governor Fashola, who spoke when he hosted council members of the West African College of Surgeons who paid him a courtesy visit at the Lagos House, Alausa, said the objective of such initiative would be to keep the people within the sub-region whenever there was a need for any surgical intervention.
He told the council members led by the College President, Professor Herve Yangni-Angate, “I believe that the objective which you have so clearly articulated, is to keep our people, at the very worst, within the sub-region whenever there is a need for any surgical intervention. I believe it is realizable in a very short term”.
“I think that I can say, on behalf of our government, that we welcome the initiative to increase middle management surgical capacity across the sub-region and whatever support that we can give in terms of the expeditious consideration of the processes as you have requested, be sure that I will give them as soon as I become aware of what needs to be done and where the processes lie”, the Governor said.
Pointing out that the Lagos State Government has invested much in the health sector to achieve the same objective, Governor Fashola declared, “So we see you as worthy partners. We have built all the hospitals, almost, built all the health facilities. But, truth be told, hospitals don’t treat. It is very good health workers who do. So we welcome that”.
Governor Fashola hinted on the plan of his administration to open up the idle capacity existing in the private sector through the use of health insurance explaining that with the introduction of health insurance, the capacity of the people to pay for treatments would increase leading to a growth in the sector.
“In that way, I think, doctors and health practitioners across the board will ultimately be the beneficiaries of this, because I reckon that there is a lot of idle capacity there and it is because people can’t pay. But if you put insurance as a boost, it will help people to pay for treatments.”
Responding to the request for land by the Council members to build a College for the training of middle management surgeons, Governor Fashola disclosed that his administration has initiated a policy that would create what he called a medical village in the state.
Explaining that the policy was initiated in response to the expression of interest by many Nigerian doctors abroad who have indicated their intention to come back home but who insist that they want to open their own medical shops, clinics and hospitals, the Governor said the medical village would be a place where the different medical segments would practice in a cluster of interdependency.
“We plan to take a large area, about 10 to 20 hectares, cut it up into small plots so that we can have inter-dependency within the cluster. So we have the ENTS expert, the pediatrician, the orthopedic expert, the O and G people in the cluster and then we can have one or two people becoming the real diagnostic experts so that if you are a pediatrician you don’t have to go and invest money in diagnostic equipment”, the Governor said.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the College President, Professor Yangni-Angate praised Governor Fashola for the achievements of his administration in the last six years.
The President, who said the Governor was the first in the State to grant the college the request for a courtesy visit, requested for a place where the College could build facilities for training of surgeons to help address the manpower shortage in the health sector within the sub-region adding that it would also enable the college address the problem of accommodation.
He later presented a book on the history of the 50-year-old institution to the Governor.
In attendance on the occasion were the Deputy Governor, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Secretary to the State Government, Dr Oluranti Adebule, Head of Service, Mrs. Oluseyi Williams, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and his Information and Strategy, Special Duties and Physical Planning and Urban Development counterparts, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, Dr. Wale Ahmed and Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde as well as Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adesina on the Government side while the College President was accompanied by his immediate predecessor, Professor Mrs Subomi Ogedengbe, College Registrar Dr. Adedayo Adewunmi and a Past General Secretary and Council Member, Professor Clement Emeka Nwawolo among others.