Doctors in Nigeria want to cut the $500 billion spent by Nigerians on medical treatment abroad by 50%. Promises by government to halt the trend have not yielded positive results.
The Guild of Medical Directors in Nigeria wants to cut the $500 billion spent by Nigerians on medical treatment abroad by 50% to improve local health care.
Dr Tony Philips from the Guild of Medical Directors explains, ”Medical tourism is one of the ways through which the nation loses money. Promises by government to halt the trend have not yielded positive results.”
A new deal with Biostadt Siemens allows doctors who operate their own hospitals to buy expensive modern health equipment for a small down payment and then pay the balance on instalment. Devices to be purchased include those used for treating cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. So local doctors and private hospitals are doing all they can to improve local services and thus reduce outbound medical tourism.
Philips adds, “We have been talking about how we could stem medical tourism, there has always been talk and talk from politicians, but no action. But, we want to help doctors choose equipment they want for their practice and pay for it easily.”
National and state politicians have made promises on banning state and government paid medical tourism for politicians, government employees and their families – but none have imposed any bans; the valuable and status giving perk is such that it will take a brave politician to impose and enforce any ban.