To stem the tide of capital flight and increasing numbers of Nigerians seeking medical treatment abroad, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) is to enter into partnership with the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), an American-based non-profit organisation, as the body has expressed strong interest in helping to brand Nigeria as a viable destination for medical tourism and check the prevalence of Nigerians of all ages and status from seeking medical care abroad.
This formed the crux of agreement reached by the association and NTDC when the representatives visited the Nigeria stand at the recently concluded international travel and tourism trade exhibition – ITB, in Berlin. The partnership agreement brokered by the association team led by Jonathan Edelheit, executive officer, and Cristina Cardona, global congress manager, would see the body with membership in over 100 countries across the world, dedicated to promoting medical education and enlightenment through workshops, seminars and training sessions among others. MTA would also work through hospitals, medical personnel, health service providers, governments and tourism bodies in the realisation of their aims in Nigeria.
“Our organisation works with governments and hospitals in over a hundred different countries and we would like to help brand Nigeria and train personnel with a view to help bring in medical tourists to Nigeria,” said Edelheit. The body through NTDC, according to him, is seeking to come into the Nigerian market to create awareness of it services and help to midwife the Nigeria branch of MTA, which would be saddled with the responsibility of helping various medical service providers and the government in creating and promoting a health and conducive environment for medical tourism to thrive in the country.
He explained that Nigerian hospitals would benefit from specialising in medical procedures that take advantage of the products and services that the country has to offer while also analysing what types of patients from which specific markets to target. “Presently patients travel round the world looking for value, quality and affordability. What the MTA is offering is to come to Nigeria to provide education on where the country’s competitive advantage lies and help develop it,” Edelheit continued.
Responding, Olusegun Runsewe, director general, NTDC, revealed that the apex tourism body in Nigeria is happy about this development and share the enthusiasm of MTA even as he pledged the commitment of NTDC in helping to introduce this initiative to Nigeria and help bring all the stakeholders together. According to him, Nigeria is in dire need of such body to help check the growing numbers of its citizens travelling abroad for medical treatment under the slightest appearance of any life threatening disease.
OBINNA EMELIKE, with agency report