President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said his administration’s drive to continually provide affordable healthcare services to the public remains a priority.
He gave the assurance when he inaugurated the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital in Calabar even as he noted that his administration places premium on the welfare and well-being of security personnel who fought tirelessly to maintain peace and order in the country
The President said that the reference hospital would improve the quality of health services to naval personnel, their families and the public.
Emphasizing that the drive of his administration is also to provide affordable healthcare services to the people, he said, “The importance of this facility cannot be over-emphasized, most importantly for the personnel of the Armed Forces in view of the enormous mental and physical exertion.
“I have no doubt that this facility, built with the state-of-the-art equipment, will improve the health standard of military personnel, their families and the public.
“I charge the Navy to ensure sustenance of this high standard hospital. This will help to realize the value of resources committed into the project.
“Our investment in healthcare and accommodation for military personnel will help them to bring out their best in national security.
“I want to commend the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Adm. Ibok Ete-Ibas and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin for realizing these great projects.”
The President also inaugurated the 100 unit’s model bricks accommodation at Atimbo Navy barracks for officers of the Eastern Naval Command.
The chief of naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibas said that the building of the project was conceived between 1974 and 1976.pointing out that it was designed to serve as a model medical force multiplier facility for the Nigerian Navy and other military and paramilitary services in the southern part of the country.
The CNS said that the physical fitness and accommodation of naval personnel was key to discharging optimal services.
He explained that the hospital has been equipped with modern facilities that would help in reducing medical tourism abroad.
According to him, the hospital has the capacity to effectively attend to no less than 50 physiotherapy patients daily.
He added that “although work commenced on the facility in 1980 as a project of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, it suffered slow progress and was eventually handed over to Ministry of Defence in 1994.
“By 2012 when the Nigerian Navy took over the project, it was barely at 30 per cent completion over the 32 years construction period.
“A renewed commitment was however made in 2016 by the Nigerian Navy administration to deliver the hospital better than it was originally conceptualized.”
He commended President Buhari for releasing funds for the completion of the project, expressing hope that the value of the investment would be realized.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was represented by Dr. Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of State for Health, lauded the Navy for the achievement.
He said that the people of Cross River were blessed to have the project coming into full operation, adding that the facility would deliver the best medical services to military personnel and the public.