By Ayodele Afolabi, Ado-Ekiti
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday said the Afe Babalola University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) would end the practice of Nigerians seeking medical treatment abroad.He said this while commissioning the 400-bed Teaching Hospital in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said Nigerians spend billions of Naira on overseas medical trips yearly, saying that ABUTH, which he described as a word class hospital, will fill the gap and enhance healthcare delivery system in the country.
Osinbajo praised its founder, Afe Babalola (SAN), for his vision and love for humanity, saying the step was a watershed in Nigeria’s history.“This hospital will go a long way in conserving funds being spent by Nigerians on medical trips abroad. With this, Nigerians will now be treated in Nigeria by Nigerians.
“It takes a man with vision and large heart for his nation and people to do this. It will help in addressing the poor heath indicators in
our system,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose and former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Peter Okebukola, called on the Federal Government to provide special funding to drive private universities for better efficiency.Fayose, who said the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) remained the second largest employer of labour in the state, said the hospital could not be compared with any in Nigeria and Africa.
“It could have been disastrous to Ekiti if this university is built elsewhere. The facilities in this university and the new hospital have no rival. Those medical treatments you go to London, South Africa and America to do can now be done here in Ekiti”.
Okebukola, who delivered a lecture on The Place and Continued Relevance of Private Universities Globally, said there was the need for private universities to be given grant-in-aid and have unfettered access to Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
Okebukola, noted that out of the 23,000 universities that exist globally, private universities represented less than 25 per cent.
“They are doing excellently well in human security by way of complementing the public universities for human capital development. About 68 per cent of scholars that had won Nobel laurels in Physics, Sciences and Medicine were trained in private universities.
“Apart from this, many of the world icons, I mean presidents and Prime Ministers of great nations were trained in private universities, so they are making good contributions to nation building and their effects can’t be underestimated”, he said.
Okebukola said it was, therefore, wrong for the Federal Government to restrict the TETFUND to public schools since the two were working for the same purposes of producing human resources to drive the country’s economy.