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Nigeria loses $200m annually on medicare abroad

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA — MINISTER of Health, Professor Babatunde Oshotimehin, said yesterday that due to lack of confidence on the nation’s healthcare delivery system, Nigeria was losing well over $200 million to what he described as medical tourism from Nigerians who travel overseas for medical attention to treat various ailments.

Oshotimehin who also attributed the lack of confidence in the system to absence of courtesy by his medical colleagues towards patients who said they wait for long hours in hospitals to get treatment, said: “People wait a long time at National Hospital. My colleagues are not courteous to them. Personal commitment to patients is not there.”

Speaking in Abuja yesterday at the National Secretariat of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during the ongoing briefing of the National Working Committee (NWC) of activities by the ministers, the Minister who advocated  a 500 per cent and 1000 per cent tax on all categories of cigarette and alcohol, said: “Every year Nigeria loses $200m in medical tourism. People go for eye check up.

“The confidence in our system is gone. People don’t think they can get service with us.

They go for all manners of treatment that could be confidently treated and handled in Nigeria. We need to build our system like in UK for people to have confidence.

They go for all manners of treatment that could be confidently treated and handled in Nigeria,” he said, adding that Nigerians sought medical treatment abroad for ailments as little as eye discomfort.


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