Why Nigerians go on medical tourism abroad – Minister of State for Health
By Kingsley Abavo, Benin
Amidst qualified personnel and availability of the required equipment at home, Nigerian elite have been of the habit of going overseas for medical attention.
A habit that is considered as putting a question mark on the reliability of the Nigerian health care system and have often attracted much criticism among the people.
The act is seen as running contrary to the local content patronage campaign by successive administrations including the President Muhammadu Buhari led – government with even those behind the campaign as major culprit.
But the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has explained why the act may not abate soon.
He identified unhealthy environment of Nigerian health facilities, insecurity, and indiscipline of workers who embark on incessant strike as factors behind the act many critics consider as inglorious.
“Today, a patient is admitted and tomorrow, the workers have gone on strike abandoning the patient.”
The Minister was Thursday, last week in Benin, the Edo State Capital on an official visit to the Federal Neuro – Psychiatric Hospital (FNPH), Uselu.
While addressing management and members of senior staff of the institution, he lamented that those were some of the challenges that have seemingly eroded confidence in the Nigerian Health Care system.
According to him, it is on record that workers of the Ministry of Health have the history of industrial unrest more than every other government establishment.
Stating that the issue of no work , no pay was not new as it was a long standing labour law, he appealed that no matter what the issues were, dialogue remained key instead of putting the lives of patients in danger.
He assured however, that the President Buhari administration was working hard to restoring confidence in the Nigerian health care system and the workers were expected to be partners in that drive, the Minister added.
Like his predecessors, the Minister acknowledged that there are lot of squabbles, in – fighting, and petitions in the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu.
But no one is being favoured rather, Government was only interested in those that can render services to Nigerians, he declared.
Though workers have the right to air their grievances, but they must sheathe their swords and focus on rendering of services for good of the citizens.
“Government has no interest in any particular group or individual. All that you are here for is service; deliver service for the good of the people.
“So, I want to urge you all to put away your factionalism, and focus on the work you are supposed to do here.”
The Minister however commended the Medical Director, Dr. Sunday Osasu Olotu for excellent performance after he was taken round the wards and departments of the hospital.
He noted that the hospital has gone far on sub – specialization made possible by various training availed workers. But whatever training they obtained, must reflect benefits for the citizens, he stated.