The Nigerian medical sector has been a front burner on the pages of the Nigerian papers but what is on paper seems not to tally with what is on ground. The health sector of Nigeria seems to be in a shamble irrespective of the huge amount of money that goes into the budget for the health sector. It is often hard to say how things deteriorated to this point but the truth remains that corruption has always been a major part of the persistent failure. All hope is not lost as there are current steps taken to stem the tide and restore the nation to the point of its lost glory.
The current trend in Nigerian health sector
At the moment, many patients have lost confidence in the Nigerian health sector. Countries like UK, US, India and Canada play host to a multitude of Nigerians per annum who travel to get health care for problems for which some of them are handled in the country. Some of the problem is not really because the nation does not have the facility to handle these cases but because the political class has made it look as is the only way to show that you have money to spend is when you travel out for medical checks. This ideology has trickled down to the masses who are beginning to imitate what the ruling class do.
Statistics of Nigerian spending abroad
Nigeria loses a huge amount of money from its economy to medical tourism. It is estimated that Nigerians that travel for medical tourism spend as much as five hundred million dollars annually and out of this amount, about two hundred and sixty million goes to India alone. The figure could be more but due to poor availability of data, this may be hard to decipher.
Inherent potentials of growing the Nigerian health sector
To grow the Nigerian health sector will not be a hard nut to crack because the basic requirement which is the brain is already there. Nigerian surgeons are scattered all over the world and a number of them have been involved in remarkable surgeries. Most of them have also declared their interest to come back to the country and practice if the environment is made conducive for them.This has resulted to a running battle between the government and health workers in a bid to sanitize the system.
What Nigeria need to become a medical tourist hub
To become a hub for medical tourism, what the nation needs is infrastructure and importation of cutting edge medical facilities. In May last year, one of the Southern governors, governor Godswill Akpabio, before leaving office unveiled an ultramodern health center that would cost the nation about thirty billion Naira. It was estimated to have modern facilities such as city scanners, digital mammography and was expected to have a sophisticated ICU.
Legislature that will boost medical tourism
The Nigerian government recently passed a legislature banning all government officials from travelling abroad. This is a step in the right direction because they are role models who most of the citizenry look up to.
- Corruption has been a bane to the growth of Nigerian health sector.
- Most of the Nigerian surgeons practicing abroad are willing to come back if the environment is conducive.
- The political clash in Nigeria affects their medical tourism.
- Current legislature bans government officials from travelling abroad for medical checks.
- Governor Akpabio established a world class clinic before leaving office.
- Medical tourism in Nigeria can reduce the loss in annual Nigerian economy.
- The figure of Nigerians that go for medical tourism annually is not readily available.
- Some of the progresses attributed to Nigerian health sector are only on paper.
- India, US, UK and Canada are top destination of Nigerian medical tourists.
- Nigeria needs to import more facilities to grow her medical tourism.
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