Valentine Omoifo, chairman, Edo State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday said poor budgetary allocation is a major threat in the fight against medical tourism in the country.
Omoifo, who spoke in an interview with newsmen in Benin City, noted that the poor investment had made the country lag behind in the provision of health services to her people.
“Healthcare funding has been a very sour taste in our economy history. It is not only states but even at the Federal Government level. The state government does not believe that healthcare should be funded. Medicine is dynamic and they are new procedures to learn daily,” he said.
According to Omoifo, the meager funds allocated to the health sector has led to insufficient medical equipment, domination quacks in the profession as well as high mortality rate in the country.
“Nigeria lags far behind other Nations in terms of efficient healthcare delivery because of insufficient funding, inadequate equipment and dilapidated Infrastructures in hospitals”, he said.
He noted that as a result of inadequate funding majority of the hospitals cannot afford to buy basic equipment such as Computed Tomography (CT) scan, Ultrasound Scan machines, Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) and other necessary equipment to help improve health care.
He also called for continuous training and retraining of healthcare workers by government at all levels so as to develop their human capital development, skills and deliver robust healthcare in the country.
“Apart from the machines needed, doctors need training and researches for better work and to develop new procedures”, he stated.
He however, lamented the bad state of the state-owned Central hospital noting that the poor state of the hospital was due to underfunding.
“Our Central hospital here in Benin is an example of a hospital which need funding. Some of the walls have collapsed; patients go outside the hospital to do test because there is no facility to work. More so, there is shortage of manpower in the hospital”, he added.
Valentine however urged government to allocate more funds to health sector so as to address the problem of low quality healthcare and eventually curb medical tourism in the country.
IDRIS UMAR MOMOH & CHURCHILL OKORO, BENIN