The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan celebrated 60 years of excellence with its Chief Medical Director, Prof. Temitope Alonge, saying the institution has churned out top specialist doctors and health professionals.
He said the hospital is now improving its capabilities in the medical areas of neurosurgery, nuclear medicine, cardiac and orthopaedic surgery. This, he said, should hopefully reverse the trend of going out of the country for medical care.
Speaking on Monday during a walk organised to commemorate the occasion, Alonge expressed his bewilderment at people’s preference for travelling abroad for treatment for ailments which can be cured in medical facilities within the country.
“We must know that many Africans are now coming to Nigeria for surgery and treatment. So, medical tourism is not only outward. We have attended to presidents, kings, ambassadors, technocrats and diplomats from different parts of Africa in the UCH. I vividly remember that the father of a former President of Gambia had treatment here.
“People have come from the Gambia, Sierra Leone for treatment in the UCH. People are going to foreign hospitals not because Nigerian hospitals don’t have the facilities or the expertise, but because travelling abroad is an ego thing for them. Some Nigerians travel abroad because they get estacodes. I once offered to do a surgery that won’t take me more than 35 minutes, but the patient opted to travel abroad for it.
“We must also let Nigerians know that these people are not going to public hospitals for treatment. Instead, they go to private hospitals abroad because it used to take 18 months to get an appointment for knee replacement in the public hospital where I worked in the UK.
“There is also the lack of information because we are not allowed to advertise our services but that we are working on,” Alonge explained.
He explained that the hospital is not resting on its oars as it seeks to have its doctor attain the necessary surgical skill to perform foetal surgery. This would add to the surgeons already in-house who are skilled in nuclear medicine, palliative, geriatric care and performing awake craniology.