Medical trip re-ignites calls for specialised healthcare facilities

President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical trip to the United Kingdom has reignited calls for a quaternary hospital to be located at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Stakeholders in the health sector, including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), also called for the refurbishing of the existing 20 teaching hospitals nationwide and increasing of the budgetary allocation for health from 3.75 per cent in the 2016 budget to at least 15 per cent in that of 2017.

Tertiary and quaternary healthcare refers to specialised care available in referral centres and very rarely accessible to the general public. The term quaternary care is sometimes used as an extension of a tertiary care in reference to advanced levels of medicine, which are highly specialised and not widely accessed.

Experimental medicine and some types of uncommon diagnostic or surgical procedures are considered quaternary care. These services are usually only offered in a limited number of regional or national healthcare centres. A quaternary care hospital may have virtually any procedure available, whereas a tertiary care facility may not.

The past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan had concluded plans for the establishment of a quaternary hospital but could not execute it due to lack of funds and low budgetary allocation to the sector. It, however, transmitted the plans to President Buhari’s government.

According to an ‘Update on the On-going Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN)/VAMED Engineering Teaching Hospitals Rehabilitation Project’ submitted to the President Buhari by the Federal Ministry of Health, Jonathan, based on the advice of the then Coordinating Minister of the Economy/Minister of Finance and Infrastructure Concession Commission (ICRC), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, approved the third phase of the project to be implemented through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) considering the tight economic situation in the country.

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