I don’t subscribe to banning Presidents from overseas medical treatment It’s unconstitutional – Sen. Bassey
The Cross River Caucus Chairman in the National Assembly, Senator Gershom Bassey has called for the establishment of six special hospitals in the six geopolitical zones of the country to boost healthcare delivery and attract medical tourism into Nigeria.
Bassey who represents Cross River South Senatorial in the Senate, pointed out that the time has come to lift the country’s health sector to an international standard.
He said he will not subscribe to the idea of banning political office holders including the President from going abroad for medical treatment as a way of boosting our health system.
According to him, doing that ”is unconstitutional.”
He however maintained that he “would expect that facilities are made available which meets international standards; then all leaders starting with whoever is the sitting President would lead by example by patronizing such facilities”.
He cited the Navy Hospital in Calabar as a place that can easily meet World class with adequate funding through a budget provision by the federal government for better equipping and training of personnel among others.
Sen. Bassey who last month, had tacitly indicated interest to enter the 2023 governorship race in Cross River, said, “there should be a minimum of six Special and well equipped hospitals in the six geo-political zones of the Country and whatever we can do to improve health care in our country is welcomed”.
On the Navy Hospital he said, “we can make it the equivalent of the Walter Reed Hospital in the United States. This is the hospital all the Presidents of United States use exclusively.”
“So in the short term any amount to assist with immediate needs of such facilities should be given, but my hope is that in the medium term it will be funded to the level as the hospital was originally conceived.
He recalled his contribution at the Senate Committee on Appropriation recently where he made a case for additional funding for the Navy hospital stating that the original intention was to make it “to be the equivalent of the Walter Reed hospital in America and that hospital was completed recently and has been working for a few years now and I am very impressed that even after completion, the way that hospital is run is first class and so my question is I do not see any provision in this budget for that hospital.
“I am wondering if the hospital is part of the Navy budget or part of the Ministry of Health budget or is it being run as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) because I have had cause to take people there and from the gate of the hospital to where you have operation and all is fantastic and it is one of the best in Nigeria that I have been to.
My question is are we watching out and providing funding for that hospital because it needs to be supported, funded and encouraged”