In a bid to justify President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s commitment to meeting the health needs of Nigerians, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is set to join other relevant and strategic partners to invest in a 500-bed world-class medical facility to be called “African Medical Centre of Excellence” (AMCE) in Abuja.

TETFUND’s Intervention In Healthcare Will Revolutionize the Sector

In a bid to justify President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s commitment to meeting the health needs of Nigerians, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is set to join other relevant and strategic partners to invest in a 500-bed world-class medical facility to be called “African Medical Centre of Excellence” (AMCE) in Abuja.

The facility is projected to provide state of the art care to over 350,000 patients in Nigeria and other African countries within its first five years of operation and as well attract talents back to the ecosystem on the continent, providing better access to much needed healthcare.

TETFund’s contribution to the establishment of this modern medical centre which is expected to commence operations in the first quarter of 2025 will be in the area of facilities, staff training and research. This will not only draw researchers and scholars from existing colleges and universities of medical sciences but will also stem the tide of medical tourism in Nigeria and the African continent in general.

Arc. Sonny Echono is the Executive Secretary of TETFund. He said the Fund as an intervention agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of providing funding to all public tertiary education institutions in Nigeria is always ready to partner with various bodies in the area of research to address the challenges facing the country.

On the establishment of the medical centre, TETFund is to join the already existing partnership between King’s College Hospital, London; the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). Speaking recently in his office in Abuja while playing host to a senior delegation from the Kings College Hospital, Echono expressed delight in the opportunity to collaborate saying any effort to create local content that will bring modern facilities to the right faculties that will ensure delivery of tertiary healthcare to Nigerians will always be embraced.

His words “In recognition of the huge challenge we face as a country, especially in the area of life sciences, medical sciences and the huge foreign exchange expended annually on medical tourism to so many countries on the globe, this is a welcome development. We (Nigeria) are also establishing institutions that will focus on the health and life sciences sector and we believe if we can have this type of partnership and draw the right personnel, and with Afriexim Bank’s involvement, we believe we will be able to provide modern facilities that will set the standard”.
“We also have a robust training programme for our personnel, including facilities of our institutions, so we will look at that opportunity because TETFund has an academic staff training programme,” Echono said.

Already, the President of Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah and the delegation from the Kings College Hospital, London have met with Nigeria’s President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR who before now, had approved an initiative to unlock Nigeria’s healthcare value chain.

While commending them for bringing the centre to Abuja, President Tinubu noted that Africa cannot afford to remain behind in quality and accessible healthcare systems, which is why his administration will do everything possible to assist the project and ensure it succeeds.

He had this to say “We welcome this significant step towards investing in Nigeria’s healthcare sector. This facility is a great commitment to humanity. We are open and ready to assist this project in every way possible. Africa is in need and Nigeria is committed to the needs of its people. Putting people’s welfare first is putting healthcare first. Out of every five black persons, one is a Nigerian and we are racing against time to meet our obligations to our people. This project will further strengthen our long-term vision for the healthcare of our people”, Tinubu added.

The President of Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah, while expressing delight that AFC has joined the African Development Bank (AfDB) as a strategic partner on the project to address the problems with the continent’s healthcare infrastructure, said the collaboration exemplifies the power of cooperation among African Development Finance Institutions in driving impactful projects that benefit our communities and promote sustainable growth.

He further said investing in AMCE Abuja is not just to support the establishment of a world-class healthcare infrastructure but also making opportunities for job creation, skills development, and knowledge transfer. This he called for more partners to join in the crucial endeavour to revolutionize healthcare in Africa and make a lasting impact on the well-being of our communities.

Similarly speaking, the President of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Samaila Zubairu said the project will transform healthcare in Africa as well as contribute to a reversal in medical tourism. To him, building a world-class facility that captures medical spend in Africa, promotes specialist skills development, retains and, most importantly, attracts healthcare practitioners in our local communities, aligns well with AFC’s import substitution strategy.

Lamenting, the AFC President said the African healthcare sector has been faced with severe infrastructure deficit and an equally chronic shortage of qualified medical practitioners while even government-owned health facilities are stretched to their limits due to inadequate capacity, thereby leading to a reliance on medical tourism and its associated burdens.

“Hospitals across West Africa struggle with funding, lack of essential resources, and limited access in rural areas and the AMCE aims to reducing this gap by creating approximately 3,000 jobs during construction and operational phases, employing over 200 people, and offering training opportunities for doctors and nurses”.

Meanwhile, an equity contribution pool has been opened for private sector investors interested in investing in Nigeria’s health sector value chain to key in. While the federal government of Nigeria has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Afreximbank for a $1 billion facility, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) pledged to commit $40 million for the construction of the project. It is expected that the project will draw KCH’s unparalleled diagnostic, clinical, and capacity-building expertise and specialty in three core non-communicable diseases – oncology, cardiology, and haematology – with a commitment to world-class research, education, and development capabilities to establish itself as a leader in clinical services.
With the AMCE initiative which is first of its kind, West Africa should get ready for a revolution in her healthcare sector as this has all the potentials of providing widespread access to critical health care that will turn the tide of medical tourism in the region.

Tersoo, a critic and public affairs analyst can be reached via: [email protected]