ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE COMMISSIONING CEREMONY OF NIGERIAN NAVY REFERENCE HOSPITAL CALABAR, CROSS RIVER STATE

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I am pleased to be in your midst today on this occasion of the commissioning of the Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital, Calabar. I join the Nigerian Navy family to welcome all the eminent personalities who are here to be part of this event.

2. The significance of today’s occasion can be better understood by making the connection between medical care and productivity. Put otherwise, good health and productivity are inextricably related. This underpins this Administration’s vision of what medical services should look like in Nigeria. Primary health care is the cornerstone aimed at creating the conditions that improve the general health of the people, meet the particular needs of patients, families and communities.

3. Our primary health care system needs therefore to be innovative and driven, in such a manner that it emphasizes quality in service delivery. Similarly, our secondary and tertiary healthcare systems must meet the most complicated medical challenges for our people at affordable rates.

4. Our yearning as a nation is therefore to provide affordable health care facilities across the country in our drive to have healthy population.

5. The importance of this subject cannot be over emphasized most especially for the personnel of the armed forces in view of the enormous mental and physical exertion that attends their profession. Active-duty personnel must be at peak health for military effectiveness at all times.

6. It is thus gratifying that the Naval High Command fully appreciates this and has taken the right steps to progressively expand patients’ access to both preventive and curative medical care services.

7. I have no doubt that this hospital and its state-of-the-art equipment, as stated by the Chief of the Naval Staff, would yield enormous health dividends to the naval personnel, their families and to the host community.

8. The development of the hospital is a great leap forward, but the envisaged benefits would fizzle out without diligent maintenance.

9. It is pleasing to note that the Original Equipment manufacturers Seimens Healthineers and Sirona Demtal Systems of Germany are here to witness this epoch- making event and intend to partner with the Nigerian Navy to ensure the adequate training and sustainability of the critical equipment.

10. I charge you all to ensure the sustenance of the high standard of this hospital and build upon it to justify its existence as an international standard medical centre. This would help realise the value of the enormous resources committed to its establishment.

11. I invite you to note that delivering an efficient and effective healthcare process requires all enlisted practitioners to be guided completely by the humanitarian angle of their calling.

12. Training is the bedrock of military professionalism as it touches on the critical aspects of military service. I therefore congratulate the Chief of the Naval Staff, officers and men on this additional bold step. I firmly believe that the coming on stream of this project would be attended with strong prospects for naval training.

13. The early signs are visible that future operational level training would flourish and be more result oriented, particularly when conducted within the country. I therefore applaud the initiative of the Chief of Defence Staff and the Service Chiefs regarding the introduction of Service War Colleges to develop operational command expertise and competence in the diverse terrains and environments.

14. May I also commend the Chief of the Naval Staff, for ensuring decent living quarters for his men and women. This is indispensable to sustaining the morale and operational efficiency of the force. I very much appreciate the efforts of the Nigerian Navy towards meeting this administration’s housing policy which is set to secure housing for all Nigerians.

15. The scheduled commissioning of 100 units of compressed brick quarters at Nigerian Navy barracks Atimbo is another milestone towards creating a conducive living atmosphere for the Armed Forces to perform their constitutional roles.

16. I am most gratified to learn that the houses were constructed through the ingenious use of locally developed earth bricks and materials.

17. The quality of the medical facility before us today implies that previous gap in the provision of Medicare in this part of the country and in meeting specialized services nationwide would be further narrowed. In addition, your investment in personnel accommodation and training bears testimony to your deliberate attempt to complement the national vision of achieving improved national security.

18. Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, once again I acknowledge with appreciation the great feelings evoked by this event of national importance. I commend all, especially the contractors and equipment manufacturers for their part in the execution of this project.

19. Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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