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Nigeria spends $1b on medical tourism, 500 patients seek health care abroad monthly

Ibraheem Adeoti Katibi, professor and the Dean College of Health Science, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), has disclosed that Nigeria spend cover $1billion annually on medical tourism.

Katibi, who made the disclosure in Ilorin recently at the 36th annual general meeting and Scientific conference of Association of Residents Doctors UITH equally revealed that 500 Nigerians go abroad monthly to seek medical intervention.

According to him, Nigeria has competent and expertise but lack adequate facilities.

He says: ” Over $ 1billion is spent annually on medical care abroad and 500 Nigerians go to India, Europe and other countries to receive medical attention. If we invested such amount of money in our health sector; it will go along way in improving health care service in Nigeria.

“We have to rise up to the challenge and tackle the problem of medical tourism. We need to retrace anomalies.

“We all have roles to play Nobody or nation can come and reform our health system for us. It is only when our health system is working effectively and efficiently – then we can have a develop and healthy nation.”

In his submission, Adeniyi Olusegun, former Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua, and Chairman Editorial Board of This Day Newspaper, who presented his speech on the theme of the conference tagged; “The verdict: the interminable pattern of medical tourism in Nigeria; a corollary or ancillary of the collapse in the health sector”; identified poor renumeration and lack of political will as the major factors responsible for setback in health sector of the country.

Olusegun, had while expressing dismay over which about 11000 doctors and nurses leaving the country annually for greener pasture; says medical tourism has become a major global business.

“How can we access good health care with low income. No enough doctors and nurses. Why Nigerians going abroad to seek medical attention is because they know they will get adequate attention and health care outside the country.

“We have competent hands in Nigeria. Some ailments taking to abroad can be treated in the country but due to lack of manpower and other necessity.

“Nigeria should begin to make our country marketable, employ foreigners to practice in Nigeria, government must ensure that our health sector is adequately funded,”

Salihu, Mumeen Olaitan, medical Doctor and President, ARD-UITH says the association has refocused its scientific meetings to solve current societal problems and contribute to literature.

He says the themeis apt and timely as medical tourism is already proliferated among the Nigerian political class and elites.

” Medical tourism remains one of the key factors affecting the growth of the Nigerian healthcare system with consequent economic loss estimated to be over one billion US dollar annually,” he said

Speaking further, the chairman said that the current trends in the management of paediatric emergencies was chosen as a sub-theme on account of increasing mortality rate of under five children in Sub-Saharan African (SSA).

“According to WHO, in 2018 an estimated 6.2 million children and adolescents under the age of 15 years died, mostly from preventable causes. Of these deaths, 5.3 million occurred in the first 5 years, with almost half of these in the first month of life.

“The leading causes of these death are preterm birth complications, pneumonia, diarrhoea and Malaria. Children in SSA are more than 15times more likely to die before the age of 5 than children in high income countries.

“More than half of these early child deaths are preventable or can be treated with simple, affordable interventions including immunization, nutrition, safe water and food and appropriate care by a trained health provider when needed,” said Olaitan.

 

SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin

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