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The nation’s leading engineering construction company and most reliable infrastructures development partner, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, has signed a contract to build Nigeria’s first State-owned cancer and cadio-vascular diseases diagnostic and treatment centre in the Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt.
The contract signing ceremony took place 9.00am last Monday at the Council Chambers of the Rivers State Government House with the full complement of the State Executive Council, including the Executive Governor His Excellency, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS (Africa) and Deputy Governor Her Excellency Dr. Mrs Ipalibo Harry Banigo, DSSRS in attendance.
The Governor who disclosed that the multi-billion Naira project is for a 14-months completion period, also emphasized that the contractors, Julius Berger, come rain or shine, should in line with their habitual and well attested reliability, work, complete and deliver the project for commissioning as scheduled by the Government. He emphasized his unflinching confidence in the commanding technical competence and abilities of the country’s leading engineering construction leader. According to the Governor: “People ask: why should it be Julius Berger that will build it, and I ask why not Julius Berger? Our people need the best infrastructures, and in this country, we all agree that Julius Berger builds and delivers only the very best and lasting infrastructures. We chose Julius Berger to help us build it not only well, but also successfully within its scheduled completion time as experience have taught us the company always do with projects they undertake.”
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter, described the project as a special one in the sense that it is a medical facility “that has the potential to alleviate suffering and serve as a beacon for care for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic disease in Nigeria….a project to serve as a catalyst and inspiration for the development of reliable, high quality healthcare solutions in Nigeria.” The Julius Berger helmsman further said the Centre has been designed with “advanced healthcare services such as Chemotherapy and nuclear Medicine”.

The facility is designed to provide 72 beds for patient accommodation, including a dedicated ICU/CCU patient accommodation ward; critical care areas for immune compromised patients; and private isolation bed wards. Additionally, the hospital will also feature outpatient procedure capacities, a fully equipped Pathology laboratory, a fully equipped Radiology department, two full theatres and one Cathlab with full support infrastructure, electronic and mechanical systems and equipment, doctors consulting rooms for inpatient and outpatient consultation, a pharmacy; as well as a coffee shop and restaurant facility for visitors and patients refreshments.

Richter said the building itself has been designed using the “best practice” principle for hospitals and will be equipped with most modern medical diagnostic equipment. This, he said, “means that in planning the facility, there was a careful consideration of the patient and service flow, to ensure a highly efficient and thoughtful environment – ensuring hospital functions remain out of sight to patients and visitors, in order to provide a quieter, calmer more therapeutic stay and an improved recovery”. Richter further said that the building has also been “future proofed”, having been designed to be “extension ready, to accommodate additional facilities or services for possible new advanced treatment and care in the future”.

Dr Richter who commended the Rivers State Government for its vision and foresight in conceiving the facility, added that the project is a meaningful effort to address the gaps in radiotherapy and cancer treatment in Nigeria. “The state-of-the art and modern cancer treatment centre will reduce suffering, reduce morbidity and reduce the need for the seeking of treatment abroad by improving cancer treatment in Nigeria – and making Rivers State the new medical tourism destination”, said Lars Richter. The Rivers State Government, he added, “has shown a true investment in infrastructure for progress, not only in roads and flyovers, but also in the development of key building infrastructure and healthcare services.”

Speaking on the scope of the project, the Julius Berger Managing Director explained that the project will consist of a 3-storey building that covers a gross building area of 11,300 m2, and is to be completed over a 14 month construction period. Promising to deliver the hospital project to the highest quality of works, the quintessential Julius Berger standard, Richter said: “We are honoured to be the chosen partners for construction of this specialized hospital. I am confident, and without doubt, that with the strong commitment of our client and the project consultants, Julius Berger will unfailingly deliver on the project requirements , on time – to ensure that this specialized hospital starts to provide the healing that so many people need”. Richter, on behalf of the Management and Board of Directors of Julius Berger, thanked the Rivers State Government for choosing the company as the construction partner for the highly significant and progressive project.

The foundation laying ceremony for the project followed immediately at the project site located at Ikwere road, Rumuokwuta, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area after the contract was signed.The foundation laying ceremony was done by the country’s Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie E. Enahire, MD, FWACS, who flew in from Abuja for the memorable event.
Other important dignitaries at the foundation laying ceremony included the former Governor of Rivers State Dr. Sir Peter Odili and his wife the Honourable Justice Mary Odili of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, former Governor of the State, Sir Celestine Omehia, former and serving members of the National Assembly as well as the Rivers State House of Assembly, the Hon. Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani, Members of the State Executive Council, Secretary to the State Government Taditional Rulers and Youths and Women organizations from across the State.
The Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, was accompanied to the events by the Regional Manager, South-South/South East operations, Engr. Juergern Fischer, Management staff and project coordinator Chief Sam Ngbor, Project Manager, Rimon Marisho, Contract Manager Barr. Mrs Omonigho Brown; and the Head, Media Relations Office of the Julius Berger Nigeria Plc Group, Prince Moses Duku.

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