The state of the art Presidential Medical Centre to take care of the medical needs of the President, his visiting counterparts, ageing ex-Presidents as well as other top government officials is ready for inauguration within the precincts of the State House in Abuja.
Giving the cheering news on Wednesday was the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, while inspecting the medical facility in the company of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba.
He described their visit to the site as final inspection of the multi-billion naira VIP wing of the State House Medical Center built by construction giant, Julius Berger within the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The inspection led by the Permanent Secretary, Tijjani Umar, Director of Maintenance, Joshua Apagu and other officials came less than two and half months to the end of the present administration.
Specifically, President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2021 approved a site for the construction of the VIP wing of the State House clinic within the precinct of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Presidency had vowed to inaugurate the state-of-the-art clinic which will offer medicare for the country’s President, Vice President, visiting Heads of State and other high ranking officials of government before the end of the Buhari-led government.
Speaking to newsmen after inspecting the 13-bed hospital, Mustapha expressed satisfaction with the pace of work and the quality of equipment already fitted in the five-star medical centre ahead of the official inauguration ceremony.
According to him: “It’s a great sense of fulfilment that I am seeing within the period of two years this edifice standing today.
“Those of you that were part of the coverage of the COVID 19 pandemic, when it involves the entire nation in 2020. You will notice that we have inspected health facilities in and around Abuja, particularly the State House Clinic, in Asokoro. My impression coming out of that inspection, deepens my desire to see that we have a standard world class facility, which has basically produced this with a lot of satisfaction and great joy I’m seeing this standing today.
“So, this money is well spent, and it will be for the good and betterment of our country.
The SGF, however, declined to disclose how much the government has expended on the project.
Mustapha furthee explained that the facility will address the frequency of the country’s presidents traveling abroad to seek medical treatment.
Said he: “it would to a large extent deal with it. This is a clinic, I believe that all procedures can be conducted here, if need be through modern sciences. Telemedicine now is very common, somebody can be sitting in his office in Germany, or in the US directing diagnosis and prescriptions, and also even procedures on a patient in this place.
“The other thing that this facility will do for us is that we receive visiting heads of state heads of government, peradventure there is an emergency, we need a facility that will provide the kind of care that is internationally acknowledged and recognized and a standard kind of care before even that particular head of state or government is evacuated out of the country. And this facility provides for that.
“We have ageing former presidents, I believe that they will have access to this facility, the sitting President will have access to it, and other top government functionaries as may be prescribed by the administrative structure that will be put in place. I believe that this is money well spent.”
Also speaking, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning also expressed delight over the quality of work on the facility, adding that”we have supported this process in terms of making sure that the funding is provided on time.
“This is a project that has been delivered dead on time and on budget. So there has been no overrun and the facilities here are world class. We’re looking forward to the commissioning very soon and to put the facility to full use.”
Ahmed expressed willingness to make herself available to be used as a guinea-pig in the 5-star medical facility whenever the need arise.
“I have donated myself as one of the people that can be tried in this facility. On test runs, I’m willing to come and do a medical here to testify that anything you can see here is what you can see anywhere you go in the world.
On his part, State House Permanent Secretary said the authorities were working assiduously including calibration and testing of the equipment as well as training of personnel before inauguration of the project by the President.
His words: “I think we we are putting everything that needs to be put in place, including the instrument and the equipment that have been calibrated and tested. And then there’s the training of personnel that is going on here. It’s absolutely important that it’s hands on, and that when the facility is commissioned by Mr. President, it is not going to stop working.
“So, I think it’s really important, we’re taking the time to do that. By the by the time that is done, the training is concluded, and the calibration and testing of equipment is also concluded and that is going to be also on time because what is sure is that Mr. President will commission this project very soon.
Deji Elumoye in Abuja