Minister of State for Health, Hon. Ekumankama Joseph Nkama on Thursday, commissioned Federal Medical Center, (FMC), Onitsha, Anambra State, formerly the Onitsha General hospital.
Speaking during the commissioning, Nkama said the move was in line with President Mohammadu Buhari’s resolve to ensure modern virile and people-centric healthcare system fundamental to his vision for the nation’s socio-economic growth.
He regretted that nation’s health sector still bore certain critical challenges which have resulted in sub-optimal outcomes, attributing it to variety of factors namely fragmentation of health service delivery, insufficient health financing, inadequate motivation and poor distribution of health workers, inadequate infrastructure and equipment and relately low private sector participation.
He said, “These factors have precipitated significant revenue loss due to growing medical tourism, and even loss of our trained personnel which is a frightening phenomenon even now.
“Government has the primary responsibility to address these issues and to put in place structures and arrangements necessary to boost the efficiency of the healthcare personnel and reduce pressure we currently have on our foreign reserves on account of medical tourism.”
According to the Minister, one of the key priorities is to reduce current imbalance between primary, secondary and tertiary health care as this is the key to the establishment of more tertiary health care facilities for which Federal Medical Center is the latest.
He said that the mandate of the new FMC was to provide preventive, curative, and rehabilitative healthcare services to all Nigerians and even parents from the West African sub-region.
“FMC’s core values should be patients/clients first, result-oriented, integrity, qualitycare, teamwork, commitment and professionalism,” he added.
Earlier, Acting Medical Director, Dr. Mercy Anugwu, said the commissioning marked very important day in the history of the centre, describing the facility as the largest secondary public health facility in the State and covers a total of 15.2 acres.
She said healthcare services were dominantly private sector driven, as out of a total of 2,297 facilities delivering health services, 699 (74%) are private facilities and 598 (26%) are public facilities.
She recalled that the move to establish the FMC was informed by need to bridge existing gap between primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare delivery in the State and Nigeria.
“The public sector comprises 315 primary, 36 secondary and one tertiary health facilities. The General Hospital Onitsha, now FMC, is the largest secondary public health facility in the State and covers a total of 15.2 acres. The center is over 60 years old , established by the colonial masters and currently has 135 bed spaces.
“The FMC, like it’s counterparts around the world, is envisioned as a multidisciplinary centre for treatment, research, harnesting science and development innovative means of tackling the numerous health challenges bedeviling the nation” she stated.