The proprietor of Bell Dome Consult, an Adamawa based private medical facility, Dr. Abdullahi Dauda Belel, has disclosed that Adamawa State is getting its fair share of medical tourism as a result of the state-of-the-art healthcare services being provided by his hospital.
In a chat with newsmen Thursday, Belel noted that the facility which boost of high end state-of-the-art equipment and robust technology is attracting huge patronage from far and wide as patients from as far as Lagos State come to the facility for medical services.
“We have started having medical tourism because we are admitting patients even from Lagos in the hospital because of the services that we have and also cost.
“So it is easier for these people to fly to Yola, access services here and go back to Lagos than going to Egypt or even going to Abuja or even remaining in Lagos to access the services in Lagos.
“That has gladdened our hearts that we are being recognized and therefore we also have to double up and ensure that our services are at par with other healthcare facilities that people are rushing to,” he said.
When asked to comment about the recent recognition of his hospital as one of the facilities that open job openings for the youths, Belel noted that in his drive to provide the best medical care at the lowest cost, he deemed it right to collaborate with the government and its agencies which informed his collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).
“Every business must have a model and the business model of this hospital is an integrated model that is looking at filling the gaps on what government is already doing. Therefore, collaborating with government and government agencies is one of the strategies to get the best out of what is available and to bring down the cost of care and improve the quality of care.
“So we reached out to NDE and tell them if they have any opportunity we want to use it just like we reach out to any organization and they responded by asking us what kind of staff we are looking for and we requested for both technical and non technical staff and they send some people here. They are all good so after their one year engagement with the NDE, we absorbed these people and they are well trained graduates.
“We are also surprised that with the little collaboration that we had with them within a short time, NDE appreciated and gave us commendation. I think it is encouraging that as parents train their children, the private sector should also find ways of absorbing these human capital and to make it a viable area for meaningful employment,” he said.
While enumerating some of the challenges that militate healthy investment in the health sector, Belel said, as a professional medical practitioner who has experience in both public and private sectors he knows that Nigerians spend a lot of resources to pursue health services which are usually not commensurate with the huge resources expended.
“I have seen a lot of issues that are stagnating the health sector despite the fact that Nigerians spend a lot of money trying to access health services. They don’t get commensurate quality so they don’t get value for their monies from the services that they desire or they deserve.
“So investing in health is huge and the return on investment without creating a business model is always discouraging. That is why you can hardly get investors coming in to health sector and when they come, they sometimes get frustrated because they don’t see the return on investment and simply because the professionals are not supporting the business models.
“So I think this is what has encouraged me to set up a facility like this to generate data and to generate information and to analyze this information and make sense out of it and share with the world to encourage investors to come into the private sector particularly the health services.
“Definitely we are beginning to see the fruits of what we have invested in a short period of time. We are diversifying our services, bringing things that people don’t expect to find. Those kind of services they tell our poor people to go to Abuja to access.
“As you know, most of our governors are also not professionals, they need advisers and those advisers can hardly explore some of the opportunities that are available and they think some of the high Technology or high end services may be too expensive for us to maintain.
“But when you collaborate with agencies that are building capacities of citizens in different ways, it is not impossible for us to set up services that can definitely be maintained by us. So this is like a laboratory where we can bring the youths together from different backgrounds those that are health oriented, those that are engineering oriented and the managers to come together and build up the health sector from different perspectives,” he said.
While calling on the government to change its approach and perspective towards the health sector so as to engender a robust system, Belel said there are opportunities that can be achieved if the government put in place a knowledge and inclusive health system.
“I’m looking at things from the broader perspective of inclusion, particularly using knowledge and skills as a fulcrum for pushing this development. The government is doing what they can but I’m saying that there are bigger opportunities by allowing for the inclusion of the private sector to come in, in different ways.
“It doesn’t has to be public private partnership where money must exchange hands but creating an enabling environment for inclusion where people can showcase their talent and can also be allowed to voice out what they have and showcase those things in order for government particularly to choose from where they can improve their policy.
“So in terms of healthcare finance, whether you like it or not, that is what makes the health economy to be a bit different from the normal economies because the utility for health is too high as you can’t value how much life is. Therefore, nobody wants to die. So when somebody is sick, the entire family will go into impoverishment trying to provide care for the sick.
“The state government has set up its agency for contributory health scheme where it is expected that health insurance as an option can take care of chunk of the proportion of the population by getting quality healthcare at low cost,” he said.