BREAKING NEWS: Medical tourism costing Nigeria over 1 billion dollars – Otabor

Medical tourism costing Nigeria over 1 billion dollars – Otabor

Medical tourism costing over 1 billion dollars – Otabor

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Medical expert, Dr Christopher Otabor, has decried the economic effect of medical tourism on the health sector and the Nigerian economy, warning that Nigeria loses upwards of a billion dollars to the brain drain.

He expressed worry that teaching hospitals and specialist hospitals are now bereft of doctors as a of the syndrome currently sweeping through the country.

Dr Otabor, who made the revelations during a solidarity visit by the Guild of Medical Directors to Alliance warned that the trend may never be reversed until the prioritizes investment in the health sector.

He lamented that the number of Nigerian doctors are more than those in the country, pointing out that the current Doctor-to-patient ratio has further dwindled, reducing the quality of medical care available in Nigerian hospitals.

‘‘The globally accepted best practice of doctor-to-patient ratio is one doctor to 600 patients but in Nigeria today, our ratio has skyrocketed to 1 doctor to 10, 000 patients. What kind of care do you expect from an overworked doctor?

‘‘Some villages lack doctors; some very large local governments do not have even one doctor.

‘‘The issue of Doctors' welfare is another problem. If healthcare professionals are not treated well, they will look for greener pastures and leave.

”A hungry doctor is a dangerous doctor, there's the risk of trying to cut corners to survive.

‘‘The Nigerian government must not continue to pretend there is no problem when we have a major emergency in the health sector waiting to happen.

Otabor warned that the government must consciously invest more in the health sector, improve doctors' welfare, invest in medical equipment, motivate health workers and tackle .

‘‘Sometimes we assume that when people are in government, they know exactly what to do. Yes, they are knowledgeable, but they don't know everything.

‘‘That is why you journalists have the responsibility to bring about the cross-fertilization of ideas. You put this information out there in the public so that they can pick from it and add to theirs, to be able to synthesize a robust solution for national development.

‘‘Nigeria fell behind the Abuja declaration, since 2001 and has only dedicated 6% to the healthcare system.

‘‘The government also needs to support the private hospitals. Don't forget that those hospitals in India that spend millions to go to abroad are private hospitals. That capital flight can be reversed.

‘‘For instance, for you to do a kidney transplant in the now, you need about 100,000 pounds. That's about 180 million . In India, you'd probably be requiring like 80 million there. Not too many families can afford that.

‘‘That's why we're trying to build capacity locally. We're trying to see how we can bridge the gap. We cannot be deterred. We must continue to work to save lives because that's the primary thing.”

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