One of the sad ironies of the Nigerian situation in the last three decades of its existence as an independent country is the dearth of world-class infrastructure in the health sector. This explains why many Nigerians, especially the well-to-do in the society, choose to travel abroad for even minor health challenges. The situation is depressing, not just for the huge cost of seeking medical treatment abroad, but for the embarrassment to a resource rich nation like Nigeria. That is the gap the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, DELSUTH, Oghara is meant to fill. It is a world-class complex equipped with some of the best facilities and manpower for renal surgery and has, since 2010 that it was commissioned, become a reference point in the health sector.
Rukevwe Ugwumba, Special Adviser to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan on Health Monitoring, describes the teaching hospital as one of the greatest achievements recorded by Delta State in the last 15 years. Although the facility was conceived by the James Ibori administration, it was not until 2010 under the present administration of Uduaghan that it was commissioned. Since then, the reputation of the hospital as a first- class health centre has continued to attract patients seeking to take advantage of its facilities, made up of some of the most sophisticated equipment to be found anywhere in the world. Apart from its state-of-the-art radiology department, there is the specialised MRI, X-ray, the ultra-sound scan and laboratory services, as well as experts from the Diaspora which the state government was able to attract to work in Oghara with fantastic work conditions. These experts, as well as locally trained Nigerian doctors, are the ones tending to the sick in Oghara today. Besides this fine blend of local and international talents, the hospital also maintains linkages and partnership with leading health institutions in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Although the health services and renal transplant offered at DELSUTH are well subsidised at the moment – “the cheapest anywhere in the world” – according to Ugwumba – the Delta State government, in the long run, hopes to begin to reap the gains of its investment as is done in other parts of the world. If Nigerians could travel to foreign countries to spend money in search of better health, what stops nationals of other countries from coming to Oghara to enjoy the same treatment? Indeed, the idea of medical tourism is one many countries like India have long been known to take advantage of to boost their revenue. According to Ugwumba, the Delta State government had on several occasions assisted indigenes of the state to seek medical treatment in the Asian country. But now, the need of travelling to India and other foreign countries for renal transplant and other health challenges should not arise as a world- class alternative hospital is available in Oghara.
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