By Folasade Akpan
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has concluded plans to establish its 500-bed African Medical Center of Excellence (AMCE) project in Abuja.
The bank said this in a statement on Thursday in Cairo, Egypt.
According to it, the center will provide world-class care to both low and high-income patient groups across the continent.
It also said that it recently formalised its long-term collaboration with King’s College Hospital, London (KCH) on the project by signing an agreement appointing KCH as the Clinical Partner of the AMCE.
“Construction of the Abuja AMCE is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021 and commissioning is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024.
“The AMCE will be implemented in four phases over a six-year period, starting off with a 170-bed specialist hospital before expanding to a 500-bed facility.”
The bank said that the AMCE plans to offer a full range of medical services, such as diagnostics, treatment, nuclear medicine, surgery and post-surgical care, along with complimentary specialist services.
The specialist services would cover oncology, haematological diseases (including sickle cell and blood cancers) and cardiovascular ailments.
It would also offer education and clinical research services with a view to building leading talent and becoming a top tier quartenary-level medical facility.
It added that the facility would not only enhance access to healthcare services for 50,000 people every year, but also provide 3,000 jobs during its construction and operational phases.
“Thus, in setting up the AMCE, Afreximbank aims to assist in the provision of quality healthcare, enhanced service offerings, training, expanded employment, conservation of foreign exchange in Africa and promotion of intra-African medical tourism.”
The bank said that Nigeria was selected in 2017 as the host country for the first AMCE following a competitive bidding process in which Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania also participated.
It added that the four countries had previously been identified as prospective host countries by a pre-feasibility study commissioned by Afreximbank and conducted by KCH in 2015.
The statement said that the on-boarding of KCH was an important milestone, as it boasts almost two centuries of experience in healthcare service delivery and health systems strengthening.
It said that KCH would support the development of the AMCE in terms of clinical expertise and protocols, governance and administration support, facility and service set-up as well as recruitment, education and training.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said that the center was a landmark project for Africa, designed as an initiative under Afreximbank’s Fifth Strategic Plan.
He added that with successful delivery, the bank would be well prepared to implement its continent-wide plan of developing a network of AMCEs across Africa and contribute its quota in improving the quality of lives of the African people.
According to him, the facility will tackle the rising burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases, with general care capabilities that will serve the entire West African region and beyond.
“It is a demonstration project that will trigger similar medical centres across the continent.
“We are grateful for the significant support from the government of Nigeria and are pleased to have King’s College Hospital as our partners.
“We look forward to benefitting from their world-class expertise in medicine, medical, research and training,” he added.
Sir Hugh Taylor, Chair of KCH NHS Foundation Trust, said KCH had 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.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the implementation of the project was also supported by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
This is to ensure that the AMCE’s services met the African Union’s aspirations for healthcare delivery under its “Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want”. (NAN)