By, Ikenna Odionye, Abuja.
The Federal Ministry of Health got an approval from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to concession 22 tertiary hospitals which will be operated on a public-private partnership (PPP), in order to enhance access to good healthcare services.
According to the ICRC’s Director-General Mr. Chidi Izuwah, the certificate delineates the next line of actions to be taken to obtain full approval and also the steps leading to the signing of concession agreement, financial closure and delivering the project. The DG said this as the Ministry of Health Outline Business Case (OBC) received the compliance certificate for the rehabilitation and concession of the federal teaching hospital in Abuja.
Izuwah noted that the ICRC recommended an accelerated system due to the significance of health to the development of the nation, also stating that ICRC has the responsibility of getting private investment to upgrade these facilities, still noting that the project would bring better changes to the tertiary health institutions, improve access to healthcare, reduce medical tourism and create direct and indirect employment for Nigerians.
He added that the private sector as well as the medical services operations would finance the project and delivery would still be handled by in-house consultants, nurses, midwives and technicians. According to him, the health workers would be properly trained on the use of new equipment and all staff will be retained at the facility.
Izuwah said CPL Medical Group won the contracts for rehabilitation, refurbishment, upgrading and equipment modernisation and standardization of the teaching hospitals and the Federal Ministry of Health suggested that the project should be extended to a third phase because the impact of the modernisation and upgrading of the 14 teaching hospitals was good on the maintenance of health issues.
Reacting to the development, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi, stated that the project proves that President Muhammadu Buhari is commited to the developemnt of human capital, which is difficult to accomplish without sufficient investment in health, education and labour.
Mashi added that the ministry will carry out into actions in order to execute the project, while the Director of PPP and Diaspora unit in the ministry Dr. Omobolanle Olowu, stated the ministry has just crossed one out of many stages by obtaining the ICRA certificate, also adding that procurement phase is the next.
According to Olowu, 22 teaching hospitals and a 500-bed capacity would be part of the project and these teaching hospitals will be on stand-alone and it would be known as super specialist hospital, Abuja.