Nigeria loses N80 billion annually on medical tourism – Senator

Muhammed Pate

The country’s elite who can afford foreign medical treatment will rather not get treated for an ailment in Nigeria.

 

 

Nov. 6 (PREMIUM TIMES) – Nigeria spends over N80 billion on trips abroad, by her citizens, for medical treatment, the Senate Committee on Health has said.

The leader of the committee, Ifeanyi Okowa, said this as he exchanged views with the Minister of State for  Health, Mohammed Pate, and stakeholders in the sector at the budget defense session.

Mr. Okowa said close to N80 billion is spent yearly on medical tourism in the country.

“We know that several Nigerians travel outside the shores of this country to the United Kingdom and India for medical treatment.

“You and I will agree that this is not the direction we need to go,” he said.

Senior government officials, and their families, in Nigeria often travel for medical trips abroad. Some of the recent travellers include the Senate President, David Mark, and the first lady, Patience Jonathan.

The committee chairman said that with 2013 budget estimate of about N297 billion, only 20 per cent was earmarked for capital development.

The committee also expressed worry over the data collection technique of the ministry and its authenticity as well as the low level generation capacity of the ministry.

In his presentation, Mr. Pate told the committee that the ministry is facing several challenges but gave the assurance that all hands were on deck to surmount these challenges.

Mr. Pate said N480 million of the 2012 budget estimate had been allocated for preparedness and response to epidemic outbreak such as Cholera, Meningitis and Lassa fever.

He added that N2.2 billion had been proposed for procurement of HIV kits and drugs just as N261 million had been appropriated for cancer control.

The budget defence session would continue on Wednesday.


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