The first ever Cardiac and Renal Centre in the whole of West Africa has been launched in Lagos. The medical facility in Gbagada area of the South western state of Nigeria is an annex of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital LASUTH.
The hospital boasts of 24 dialysis bed stations, 20 beds for recovery and general ward use, two high dependency wards with five beds each making a total of 10 beds for patients who have come out of intensive care, five beds for patients in intensive care and four post surgery beds.
Other facilities include two post Cathlab beds and two surgical theatres built to the most contemporary standard to cater for patients who are critically ill. Lagos state Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola said with the establishment of the hospital, many Nigerian doctors working abroad had either returned or signified their intention to take up appointment at the hospital.
According to Governor Fashola, aside the Consortium Managers of the hospital, made up of Nigerian and American Cardiac and Kidney specialists; 32 Medical Staff are already on ground which include seven Nigerians who were hitherto based abroad.
He added that another twelve also in the diaspora had signed to come to the hospital in rotation as 50 Nigerian specialists in diaspora had also agreed to come on permanent rotation to the hospital.
He described the surgical theatre as most fascinating; "where kidneys and hearts can be removed and transplanted."
He noted that provisions were also made for teaching of medical students stressing that cameras had been fitted into surgical scumps which, according to him, project images and voices of happenings in the theatre to the students' lecture rooms on the ground floor.
"This ensures that students can learn by seeing and hearing what is going on in the theatre without actually being in there, which ensures the sterility of the operating theatre area and protects patients from secondary infection", the Governor said.
Fashola explained further that the Concession Managers also had in their agreement, a planned quota for poor people who the State Government would refer for free treatment with the agreement that the government would pay when the quota is exceeded.
"Whatever we pay in future will be cheaper than going abroad. It will not include airfare, it will not include accommodation abroad all of which are paid in dollars and doctors' fees and feeding costs will now be charged in Naira in Lagos."
Fashola disclosed future plans for the hospital, which include building a Cancer Centre in the complex and a plan to build staff accommodation within the premises.
The Lagos state Governor affirmed that spouses or relatives of patients who may accompany their sick loved ones to the hospital could be accommodated in the planned guest houses as he said that the Sate was looking forward to the development of medical tourism from across West Africa.
"I can look forward to my old age now with confidence that if anything happens to my heart or kidneys, I used my period of service to build a facility that can respond to my needs. I know now that I will not need to go abroad because of a lack of choice. If I do so, it will be my own choice and not that the Lagos State Government failed to provide an alternative," the governor observed.
One of the beneficiaries of the medical facility, Mr. Fred Ayeni, who has been patronising dialysis Centres since 2007, said he spent about N75,000 a week for dialysis which he undertook twice a week before coming to the Cardiac and Renal Centre in Gbagada where he now spends just N20,000 weekly for dialysis.
He expressed his appreciation to the State Government for conceiving the idea of the Renal Centre and bringing it into fruition to take care of people with such health challenges, stating that many past administrations have come and gone without conceiving any such project.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris expressed the happiness of members of the health family for the successful implementation and commissioning of the medical facility which, according to him, took five years to accomplish.
According to Dr Idris, "The State had to contend with the triple burden of communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases and mental health disorder even before the World Health Organisation's pronouncement that non-communicable diseases would assume epidemic proportions."