BY EMEKA EJERE
The construction of the African Medical Centre of Excellence (AMCE), by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), kicked off in Abuja on Tuesday with a groundbreaking ceremony that had President Mohammadu Buhari, as special guest.
A product of a collaboration of Afreximbank, the Federal Government and other partners, the 500-bed AMCE, which will serve low and high-income patients from across the entire West African region and offer the full spectrum of medical services, will have Kings College Hospital, London, as the Clinical Medical Partner.
The centre, which will be due for commissioning in the first quarter of 2024, is expected to enhance service exports, providing healthcare to over 50,000 people annually, promote employment, creating over 3,000 jobs during its construction and operational phases and conserve foreign exchange.
The initiative is also supported by the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to meet the African Union’s (AU) healthcare goals and objectives under the ‘Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want’.
It is a key part of Afreximbank’s Health and Medical Tourism Programme (HMTPP) which comprises the Construction and Medical Tourism Relay Facility (CONMED) designed to promote the development of state-of-the-art medical infrastructure in Africa.
In his remarks, President Buhari noted that the centre would provide world class medical services at par with the world’s most prestigious hospitals, thus restoring trust in the local health system.
According to the President, the facility would also provide a blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria and Africa’s healthcare and economic challenges simultaneously.
Buhari said: “The Government of Nigeria has partnered with Afreximbank to develop the African Medical Centre of Excellence in Abuja, which will provide world class medical services at par with the world’s most prestigious hospitals, thus restoring trust in the local health system.
“The success of the AMCE will pave the way for future investments and partnerships in the sector while raising the local standard of healthcare and providing a blueprint for quality of services required to address Nigeria and Africa’s healthcare and economic challenges simultaneously.”
President and Chairman of the Board of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said: “The African Medical Centre for Excellence construction comes at an inflection point, as the continent rises from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With lessons learnt from the continent’s fight to curb the virus, the AMCE will be a key player for Africa in fighting the next pandemic.
“As a training, educational, medical and research facility, medical and research professionals from across the continent will be able to meet, exchange ideas and support Africa to implement its health agenda and provide quality healthcare, which would be accessible and affordable to all Africans.”
Also speaking, Chairman of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Sir Hugh Taylor, said: “At King’s we have a long history of providing specialist healthcare locally, nationally and internationally.
“We are proud to be extending our clinical expertise in services such as haematology and cardiology to benefit the people of Nigeria, and Africa more generally.”
On his part, Executive Medical Director of King’s Commercial Services, Prof. Anil Dhawan said: “We are delighted to expand our overseas footprint of healthcare facilities in Nigeria, our first project in Africa, to provide the best care to the people of the continent.
“We envisage the replica of NHS patient care with safety and quality at the heart of it and assisting with rapid transfer of research and innovations in healthcare to the African continent.”