A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and former Attorney General of Imo State, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, says the COVID-19 pandemic has some salutary effects on Nigeria as it would end foreign medical tourism by the elite.
According to Mr Ume, who is a federalist lawyer and rapporteur of Victims of Persecution, a non-governmental organisation, the pandemic would compel the political leadership of Nigeria to build world-class medical facilities that would cater for the health needs of the people.
The erstwhile Imo State commissioner stated this in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja while reacting to the ongoing construction of ultramodern Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital in Uburu community area of the state.
Mr Ume who lauded Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi for his giant strides in improving the welfare of his people, noted that the teaching hospital upon completion would be the best in Africa.
He said: “The turn of events is showing that for some countries and people, the COVID-19 pandemic may end up with salutary effects. Some visionary leaders in Nigeria are looking inward as to end the age-long medical trips abroad.”
According to him, “the current ugly trend wherein Nigerian and African elites troop to Europe and America for medical treatment would soon end with them looking inwards to Nigeria.”
The federalist lawyer, who inspected the teaching hospital project alongside Governor Umahi recently, disclosed that the facility which is about 75 per cent completion, would provide medical services in the treatment of debilitating diseases such as cancer, kidney diseases, tuberculosis and heart-related ailments in the country.
Recall that recently, Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BMGF, had said a country like Nigeria needs to invest more in primary healthcare to ensure it is well prepared for the next global pandemic.
The American billionaire had said more people die in Nigeria from primary healthcare deficit every year than the total number of deaths in Africa from the COVID-19 pandemic.