14 November 2012

Nigeria: FG Urged to Stop U.S.$8 Billion Medical Tourism

Ibadan — A group of visiting medical experts from the US yesterday urged the federal government to halt overseas medical trips that cost Nigeria $80bn annually.

A renowned Nigerian cardiologist based in the US, Dr Kamar Tayo Adeleke, said in Ibadan yesterday, that the money should have been used to develop local health infrastructure and facilities.

Dr. Adeleke who is the leader of a 50-member free health mission from the United States of America to Ibadan , announced that his team was partnering with the Oyo State Government to further develop infrastructure needed to boost the healthcare programme in the state.

"Our mission is also evaluating Oyo State Government's health facilities to see what need to be done to further help them and that is part of what we are doing. We are going to see how we can collaborate and upgrade the facilities by bringing more equipment. We will later bring more doctors including ophthalmologists, dentists and general surgeons here for consulting services," he said.

Adeleke who is the Chief Cardiologist at St. Francis Hospital, Belaware in the US, commended Lagos State Governor Raji Fashola administration for opening the Gbagada Cardio Renal Centre which he described as "a first-class facility like the ones we have in America."

"That's what Nigerian government needs to do. We already have all the specialists that are going to be working in that facility. So, we can bring all these people here to be working in that environment that people will not have to be going on medical tourism and that will go a long way in saving the nation foreign exchange. And you can use that money to build the economy of Nigeria rather than wasting the money.

Speaking earlier, Oyo State Commissioner for Health Dr. Muyiwa Gbadeges said the state government was in the process of introducing Health Insurance Scheme.

"With the Health Insurance Scheme, it means that anytime anybody falls sick, he goes to the hospital and he does not need to pay anything. It will help our people greatly," he said.

The commissioner commended the Free Health Mission for their contribution to humanity.

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