Afreximbank, FG Kick-Start $300 Million African Medical Centre Of Excellence In Abuja
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the Federal Government and other partners, on Tuesday, commenced the construction of the first African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE) in Abuja.
The 500-bed facility, estimated at $300 million will be run in partnership with Kings College Hospital, London, and is geared towards serving low and high-income patients from across the entire West African region.
Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony of the medical centre in Apo-Kabusa, Abuja, President Muhammadu Buhari said the center would provide world class medical services at par with the world’s most prestigious hospitals, thus restoring trust in the local health system.
He said the success of AMCE would pave the way for future investments and partnerships in the sector while raising the local standard of healthcare.
He said it would also provide a blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria and Africa’s healthcare and economic challenges simultaneously.
Buhari said the rising non-communicable diseases (NCD) burden in Africa is well established and undeniable, adding that coupled with inadequate medical infrastructure on the continent, it makes for a lethal combination that threatens the future of our people.
He said, “This problem is further exacerbated by the significant brain drain experienced by the continent, with our best brightest in the medical profession being attracted to career opportunities abroad resulting in a significant gap between the required treatments for NCDs and the available treatments.”
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank said it is unacceptable that more than 200,000 Africans travel to Asia alone for medical services and with over $5 billion dollars US dollars spent each year.
“Nigeria accounts for $1 billion of that expenditure issue. Not only is the outflows has African financial resources worried
but the free export of African health care the health data also poses a threat , ” he said.
While thanking Buhari for his support, he said the construction of the centre will be completed in 30 months.
Oramah said that the centre was conceived to promote intra African medical tourism and to reduce the outflow of over seven billion US dollars in aggregate that the continent spends on medical tourism abroad annually.
He said AMCE is one step towards self-reliance for Africa’s health care delivery, saying the project will pool world-class technology and global talents, particularly the African diaspora, to provide a full spectrum of quality medical services in oncology, haematology, cardiology, and general healthcare services.
Ghulam Mufti, a professor of Hemato-Oncology, King’s College Hospital, London, and Medical Adviser on the AMCE Project, said it will create an infrastructure to provide clinical trials infrastructure biobanking and to attract pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to work with the centre of excellence, both in providing new drugs and in but initiating research with other global institutions, both in Europe as well as in the United States.
The Abuja AMCE is expected to provide healthcare to over 50,000 people annually, and promote employment creating over 3,000 jobs during its construction and operational phases and conserve foreign exchange.