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Onu tasks govt on providing incentives for investors in health care sector

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By Millicent Onaga, Enugu

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has advised federal and state governments to encourage more people to invest in the health sector by providing them with incentives such as tax holidays to build hospitals.

The Minister stated this in a key note address he delivered at a National Conference on National Health issues in Nigeria organized in Enugu by a non-governmental organization, Millennium Center For training, (MCTL) and Leadership, with headquarters in Lagos, South West Nigeria

He argued that there is need to involve the organized private sector (OPS) to play an active role in the modernization of health care delivering system in Nigeria. He added that investors need to come in a big way to build and manage hospitals

“Nigerian investors, both home and Diaspora, will have to be provided with incentives, including tax holidays to establish hospitals in many parts of the country. Every effort should be made to encourage the private sector to invest in the health sector, such hospitals, will then compete with public hospitals, so that our citizens can get quality and best available service

Onu, also advised on the need for the nation to effectively utilize Technology in rebuilding its health care system as obtained in other parts of the globe, both developed and developing, saying “it will help us increase national productivity, improve Gross Domestic e Product (GDP), create jobs as well as strengthen naira, and significantly reduce poverty

According to the minister, such idea would equally encourage brain Gain in the sector by reducing emigration of medical personnel   from Nigeria. “This will help guarantee socio- economic stability and consequently enhance national security

He noted that Nigeria as a nation has enormous potentials to have an excellent health care system that can create enough wealth for the country, via medical tourism from patients in Africa and beyond. All these are benefits we can derive by the use of Technology in the health sector for sustainable and inclusive national development

“I see a future where no Nigerian who is sick will like  to  travel outside the country for medical treatment . I also see a future where foreigners from far and near will come to our dear country to receive medical treatment. I see a future where Technology will play a very important role in rebuilding our health care system” Onu prophesized

The minister posited that  no nation, whether advanced, or advancing, including Nigeria,  can make any meaningful headway in any sector including, health without embracing  Science Technology. “Today, nation’s, both  big  and small found in all the Continents of the world have made very  rapid development in recent times, have done so through effective application of technology

“Singapore, Israel, Japan South- Korea, China and India, are good examples. The effective linkage between Science and Technology with a good health care delivery system is such that throughout human history, the nation leading the world at any given time, has always had about the best hospitals, attracting the sick from other parts of the world

He added that “all nations recognize the very important role which an efficient health care system plays in their development . Every nation needs healthy citizens to run factories, for rapid industrialization, work on their farms, to guarantee food security, build and maintain their infrastructure, for efficient, effective and sustainable development. This is why every nation applied science and Technology to help guarantee good health for their citizens

In  his  remark at the event Chaired by Nigeria’s Ex- Minister of Power and former Vice Chancellor (VC), University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Professor Chinedu Nebo, president of (MCTL), Prince Okey-Joe Onuakalusi, said the Conference was put together by his organization to thoroughly examining the form and substance of  issues affecting Nigeria’s health sector with a view to proffering solutions to the malady.

He noted that throughout history, technology whether ancient or modern gas been a useful and effective interventionist instruments for transformation of various sectoral economies of many countries, hence the urgent need to deploy same technological arterials to make Nigeria health sector more efficient, effective and accessible

Onuakalusi, explained that the theme of the Conference: “Technology, As a Bridge For Health Security, Socio- Economic Stability And Brain Gain” is apt in view of the Global pandemic Covid 19, that has not only traumatized the world, but battered it’s economies like no other in the last 50 years or more than any other disease

Chairman, National Centre of Excellency for Cardio thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Professor Basden Onwubere, Head, Infectious Diseases Department and Coordinator University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Dr. Uche Unigwe were amongst others health experts who gave talks at the event.

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