Sufficient funding for the health sector will reverse medical tourism – Osinbajo
On Friday, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu pleaded for increased investment in the health sector to curb about N6. billions of dollars spent on medical tourism each year.
The trio made the call in Lagos at the inauguration of Duchess International Hospital, a multi-million naira state-of-the-art healthcare facility funded by Access Bank Plc.
They urged banks to make loans accessible to health investors to provide standard healthcare facilities, technology and equipment for quality services to curb medical tourism.
Osinbajo said Nigeria has the world-class talent, ideas and other resources to develop and manage global health facilities if there is sufficient funding, stressing that providing the highest standards of health care higher would reverse medical tourism.
The vice president said investing in healthcare facilities like Duchess would reverse the brain drain in the sector and make the country a destination for medical tourists. He congratulated Access Bank Plc for financing the project, describing its involvement as courageous.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic had taught Nigeria key lessons, including the danger of neglecting the health sector.
Emefiele, for his part, said more than 80 countries had taken strict measures, such as restricting the export of their medical and pharmaceutical supplies to other countries as necessary measures to deal with the pandemic.
He said it was unfortunate that as the global pandemic wreaked havoc Nigeria was unable to produce medical and pharmaceutical supplies such as medicines, hand sanitizers, hand gloves, masks and disinfectants, but had to depend on other countries, including China and India.
The boss of the bank apex questioned the sustainability of resorting to importing medical supplies while expressing fears that a larger pandemic could put the country on the brink if it fails to make the necessary decisions. necessary investments.
He said the bad investments posed a huge threat to the country’s healthcare sector, which parades some of the best brains in the global medical circle.
Emefiele said countries around the world are investing in their health systems to prepare for growing health challenges, warning that Nigeria cannot afford to do otherwise. He said that as part of efforts to prepare the country, the umbrella bank has embarked on policies that would allow banks to provide easy loans to private health care providers.
In his remarks, Sanwo-Olu said the government must restore citizens’ confidence in the national health system by creating an enabling environment for the development of health facilities. He urged federal and state governments to make healthcare a priority and increase their budgets for the sector.
Director General of Duchess International Hospital Dr Adetokunbo Shitta-Bey said about 60,000 Nigerians spend 6 billion naira each year to seek various medical treatments abroad, ranging from chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, minor ailments as well as plastic and reconstructive surgeries.
He said that the lack of trust, good governance, quality facilities, equipment and expertise in the health sector and the inability to meet international standards were among the causes of medical tourism in the country.
He called on private healthcare providers to take the bull by the horn to fill gaps in the healthcare sector and help the country recoup money lost to medical tourism.
Shitta-bey said, “Healthcare is a top priority across the world and countries are making sure their healthcare industry is the best, that’s what we’re doing here at Duchess International Hospital with state-of-the-art installation and the best of equipment to meet all healthcare specialists. We want to ensure that every Nigerian has access to affordable and quality health care. “
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