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The authorities of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) on Monday attributed the inability of the hospital to stem the tide of medical tourism in the country to lack of financial resources and equipment.
Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the teaching hospital, Darlington Obaseki, said this at a press briefing to reel out activities lined up for the institution’s Inaugural Founders’ Day celebration with the theme, “Stymieing outward medical tourism in Nigeria: The responsibility and opportunity before teaching hospitals”.
The lecture is to be delivered by Peter Ozua, a UK-based consultant in pathology, and the first president of the UK alumni association of University of Benin graduates.
Obaseki, who said the occasion would be used to launch an endowment for the hospital, noted that the institution was blessed with world-class medical professionals that could compete favourably with their colleagues in the developed world.
“The main objective of the founding fathers of the hospital was to attract other people to come from other countries and regions to seek medical care. But to that extent we are not ashamed to say we have not been able to do that. We have not been able to attract patients from other country to seek medical attention in the hospital.
“Most people go outside the country to access healthcare that we should ordinary be providing. The reason was not because of lack of manpower. We have personnel that have been trained outside the country to do open-heart surgery.
We also have neurologists to do renal transplant, among others. We have the skilled manpower that we need but the challenge is the lack of fund and equipment. That is what is resulting to this endowment.
“As we speak, we don’t have Computed Tomography (SCAN) machine. The only CT scan machine we have is the first generation type. The cost of a first grade CT scan machine is about N150 million. We don’t have such money. We don’t also have Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. The cost is about $1 million, which is about N350 million,” he said.
He disclosed that a woman was delivered of an ovarian pregnancy in the hospital, making it the 15th ovarian pregnancy to be delivered globally.
He explained that the hospital had broken several medical feats in the country in the areas of stem cell transparent, invitro-fertilisation, among others.
While appealing to members of the public to develop the culture of funding the health institution through endowment, he however, noted that public healthcare was not a profitable venture.
He however poured encomiums on the founding fathers of the hospital, including late Samuel Ogbemudia, the military governor of the then Mid West region that midwifed the establishment of the institution; former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon and his wife Victoria, who commissioned the hospital in 1973, and others.
The CMD added that Gowon and his wife would chair the occasion, Adams Oshiomhole, the national chairman of APC, the guest of honour, and Governor Godwin Obaseki, the chief host.
Others expected at the occasion are Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin, notable sons and daughters from Edo/Delta states origin, health institutions, among others.