MEDICAL TOURISM has continued to cut deep into Nigeria’s resources, with no early end in sight to curb the waste. At inauguration of Senior Executive Course, SEC 41, at Nigeria’s National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Plateau State, President Buhari stated that the country loses N400bn annually to medical tourism. Himself made several medical trips to UK for treatment during his first term at huge cost.
Without stating past four years strategic efforts by his government to stem the wastage, President Buhari, simply told the course participants to provide solutions to issues that would close the gaps in institutional, legal and policy frameworks for funding universal healthcare delivery for the good of the country.
He said his administration was committed to improving the health sector to minimize the rate of medical tourism and combat outbreak of deadly diseases. Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, represented the president. He said he approved the theme “Funding Universal Healthcare Delivery In Nigeria” for the study, out of his desire to tackle the challenges in health sector funding.
Buhari said: “When in 2018, I approved the theme of your study, Funding Universal Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria, the decision was borne out of the sincere desire of my administration to tackle the challenges of health sector funding in Nigeria. Early in 2018, Government provided N55.1billion, which is the 1 percent Consolidated Revenue Fund to cater for the Basic Healthcare Fund, provided for in the National Health Act.
“Government has shown strong commitment in the revitalization of the health sector. These efforts notwithstanding, our health sector is still characterized by low response to public health emergencies, inability to combat outbreak of deadly diseases and mass migration of medical personnel out of the country.
“This has resulted in increasing medical tourism by Nigerians in which Nigeria loses over N400billion on annual basis. Thus, I consider the theme for 2019 very apt, timely and important because the primary purpose of governance is to ensure the security and well-being of the citizens including health security.”
Medical travels abroad by Nigerians for treatment, over the years, left the country under-developed medically. Nigerian political class are the big patrons of medical travels abroad, and they are attended to by Nigerian medical personnel in some of the medical facilities.
Isaac Adewole, Health Minister, delivered inaugural lecture. Justice Yakubu Dakwak, Chief Judge of Plateau State administered oath for the 66 course participants.