By Gabriel Olawale & Gloria Orogun
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said yesterday that the country would require $1 billion annually to reverse medical tourism.
He also said N11.7 billion had been set in 2017 proposed budget for revitalisation of seven tertiary health institutions in the country.
Adewole, who spokes at the commissioning of the permanent secretariat of West African College of Surgeons, Yaba, Lagos said though the country was currently passing through tough times, government was committed to halting medical tourism.
He said plans were underway to upgrade some tertiary health institutions to enable them render services for which Nigerians were going abroad.
“In our 2017 budget proposal, we have committed N11.7 billion to upgrade at least seven tertiary health institutions, in which each one will receive N300 million and medical centres will receive N120 million. Fistula Centres will receive N50 million so that they can have water and electricity and function well.
“Then the strategic intervention will be to provide equipment to render services for the three main reasons Nigerians travel abroad, such as cancer, renal disorders and cardiac cases.”
Adewole said states across the country had been supported through $500 million loan they acquired from World Bank.
“This will enable them to revitalize their primary and secondary healthcare. We are committed to this course simply because we believe it will help us to decongest our tertiary health institution.
‘’Those who have fever, pain and diarrhoea have no business going to tertiary centres, it should be allowed to really commit themselves to the core business of socialized healthcare.
“Maiduguri is also queuing to develop first class trauma centre but for no reason that facilities is at the art of Boko Haram and they have to deal with many cases of injuries across the country.”
Adewole, however, appreciated Nigerians doctors who had distinguished themselves in services for which Nigerians travel overseas.
“We appreciate some of the Nigeria doctors who have demonstrated their abilities to show that some of these surgeries can be done in Nigeria.