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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Buhari, others’ medical tourism cost Nigeria $1bn yearly –Minister

anonymous informant     12:44 PM     No comments

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire on Monday revealed that medical tourism is one of the major factors depleting the country's foreign exchange.
He noted that by conservative estimates Nigerians going outside the country for medical care, cost the country about $1billion annually.
Ehanire's revelation is coming at a time Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari just left the country on another medical vacation to London.
Since coming to office two years ago, the President had embarked on several medical trips abroad including seeking medical attention for ear infection outside the country.
Before embarking on his fellow-up medical trip to London on Sunday, President Buhari spent 49 days in the United Kingdom for medical treatments.
The government has refused to disclosed the nature of his ailment, as well as the amount of money that must have gone into its treatments.
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Ehanire, who spoke at the inauguration of the Reddington Hospital Group's cardiology Centre in Lagos, said by conservative estimates medical tourism cost Nigeria about $1billion annually,
adding, that the phenomenon which many Nigerians have resorted to has left the poor in Nigeria to their fate or faith in God, and so-called native medicine.
He however identified limited access, inequitable distribution of facilities, limitation of both material, financial and human resources for health, poor attitude to work, strikes and inter-professional discord, and limited affordability for the average citizen as challenges plaguing Nigeria health sector.
He said, "The Federal Ministry of Health is furthering the revitalisation of nearly 10,000 primary health care centres (PHCs) in Nigeria, at least 1 in every political ward, working with states and our development partners, to rebuild the National Health System from the foundation, including plans for a referral system to relay patients through secondary to tertiary facilities."
Ehanire further disclosed that government is encouraging private sector participation in health care delivery in order to check the situation.
"The commissioning of Grays Cardiology Centre has set the bar higher as it goes beyond the routine, to bring state of the art diagnostic and intervention capacity to Nigeria. We are proud that services that would have been found only in the top hospitals of technologically advanced countries, can be rendered right here, in the country, without need for passport, visa, airfare or other hurdles and expenses," he said.


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