'Lagos Cardiac Centre, Boost to Medical Tourism' (allAfrica.com)

For five years, many Nigerians who are terminally ill and down with kidney diseases as well as those with failing hearts had waited for the completion and commissioning of the world class centre, which began in 2008, with the hope to get some respite.
The dream to have a one-stop centre that can take care of the needs of patients especially those diagnosed with end-stage renal disease or what in medical parlance is known as chronic renal failure, finally came to fulfilment when last Wednesday, the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, commissioned the 67-bed centre located on the premises of the Gbagada General Hospital.
Addressing the audience on the need for investing in the centre, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said: “Apart from the fact that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels throughout the body, they range from the common such as hypertension and coronary heart disease to the uncommon congenital malformation (that are indeed acquired from birth.”
According to him, “Statistics from the free hypertension and diabetes screening programme conducted in the state in the past seven years revealed that on the average, 20 per cent of the clients had hypertension, while 5 per cent had diabetes mellitus.
“The prevalence of end-stage renal disease in Nigeria is estimated at 290 per one million. For these patients, renal replacement therapies in the form of dialysis or kidney transplant are critical to improve the quality of their lives and prolong same.”
The commissioner, however, lamented: “In Nigeria, only 50 units provide dialysis services with 15 or 30 per cent of these in Lagos while 80 per cent are in the private health sector.
“The state established modest heamodialysis units at the Gbagada and Alimosho General Hospitals as well as the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, with only few public health facilities performing renal transplant procedures.
“But the construction of the new cardiac and renal centre was really inspired by the medical missions that came to the state and did some procedures on patients between 2004 and 2011.”
Speaking on why he became more determined to fulfill the promises he made to the people of Lagos in providing sustainable healthcare, Fashola said: “The turning point was when we took President Yar’Adua to a Saudi Arabia hospital to manage a kidney ailment.
“It was a low point for us because we have it on good authority that the Saudi hospital was built by Nigerian doctors who left the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) in the 80s.
“Many of them, who I met on my travels, complained that they wanted to come home and practise but there was no hospital comparable to where they were accustomed to working. I told them that we would do something.” Thumbing his chest, the governor said: “We now have a hospital that has 24 dialysis bed stations, 20 beds for general ward use, two high dependency wards with five beds each for patients in intensive care, four post-surgery beds for patients who just finished surgery, two post-cathlab beds, two surgical theatres built to the most contemporary standard to cater for people who are critically ill”.
The country’s first Cardiac and Renal Specialist Centre was constructed by the firm of Deux Project Limited, which is reputed as a leading indigenous Turkish firm that has been handling similar health projects for the state and as well as in the Niger Delta and the National Eye Centre, Kaduna, among others.
Fashola promised that the construction and equipping of the centre, has been well taken care of to ensure that all equipment, instruments and fittings in the hospital are of international standards. All the equipment, instruments as well as clinical and non-clinical furniture have been sourced from the leading manufacturers in the world.
The governor added: “We also foresee the start of medical tourism from across West Africa into Lagos, Nigeria.
“So, we have planned accommodation within the complex for relatives who may want to accompany relatives here for treatment and the land for construction and management has been set aside.”