Minister of state for health, Olororunnimbe Mamora has said the federal government is ramping up efforts to curtail foreign medical trips which he said drains more than N400 billion from the country yearly.
Mamora tied the all-too-common medical tourism in the country to unwholesome hospital environment and bad attitude of workers, saying it’s not necessarily a matter of lack of medical facilities.
He disclosed this in Abuja on Monday when he received a delegation of CPL Medical Group Limited, a local engineering company engaged in the rehabilitation of teaching hospitals in the country.
He maintained that President Muhammadu Buhari is resolved to curb medical tourism. In 2017, Mr Buhari spent about three months in London on medical vacation. And he has made frequent trips to the UK on ”private visits” believed to be for medical reasons.
In August, the president said the country loses about N400 billion to medical tourism annually.
The minister said: “President Mohammadu Buhari has resolved to curb medical tourism by supporting initiatives from individuals and groups,” Mamora said.
“We are focused on improving working conditions in the hospitals because medical tourism is not necessarily an outcome of lack of medical equipment. It encompasses factors like lack of conducive hospital environment and poor attitude of health workers towards health care delivery.”
He assured Nigerians that the federal government was working towards entrenching the right standards in terms of attitudinal change and procurement of equipment.
He said the responsibility of the health ministry is to formulate government policies on health while implementation involved relevant stakeholders, so that the sector could move to the next level.
He expressed delight at the progress reported by the team in the implementation of the various stages of engagement with the presidency, adding that government is partnering the Infrastructure Regulatory Commission to ensure best practices in healthcare delivery.