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Bill Gates, Eminent Nigerians Plan $400m Project

By Philip Ogunmade, 11.10.2006

A Nigerian medical doctor, Godwin Onyema, in conjunction with Bill Gates Foundation, is proposing a world-class hospital that will provide answers  to many of Nigeria's medical questions in Anambra State. To be named Augustine Memorial Hospital, the project will gulp $400 million.

Already, the project has secured the support of Bill Gates Foundation and several other foreign institutions such as the Harvard, Princeton and Stanford universities, Ernst and Young and Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Rowe & Maw LLP., Govenment of Anambra State has donated 200 acres of land for the take-off of the project, while notable Nigerians such as chairman of Diamond Bank, Mr Pascal Dozie, founder of Emzor Pharmaceuticals, Mrs Stella Okoli, former presidential aspirant, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Director-General of National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Dora Akunyili, Chairman, Eko Hospital, Dr Sonny Kuku and the Canadian-based Dr Emmanuel Egbogah have thrown their weights behind the project.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos recently, chairman of steering committee for fund raising for the project, Egbogah said some of the facilities of the hospital will include cardiology unit, with catherisation laboratory, burns unit, major unit, orthopaedics department, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) unit and Computerised Axial Tomogragraphy (CAT) unit.

According to him, the hospital will treat both the poor and the rich, irrespective of their financial strengths and reduce drastically the rates of Nigerians taken abroad for treatment.

Egbogah said ”the Augustine Memorial Hospital will for the first time bring hi-tech, world class health-care to Nigerians regardless of the ability to pay.  ”Nigerians will be able to access at home and in good time, facilities and requisite medical talent needed to perform complex medical operations.“

The AMH will offer those facilities to Nigerians who cannot afford to pay."

To enable stakeholders raise funds for the project, a fundraising event has been slated for November 24, this year on the theme, "The Health Challenge." Explaining the rationale behind the project, Dozie asked: "How do you feel when you hear that a Nigerian is sick and has to be flown to South Africa? That is why initiative like this has to be supported," he said.

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