By Haruna Gimba
President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria loses about $1 billion annually to medical tourism, which is more than annual budget of some states.
President Buhari who spoke at the 56th Annual General Conference and Delegate meeting of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Sokoto, said his administration will not encourage expending the nation’s resources on any government official seeking medical care abroad especially when there is evidence of expertise in Nigeria.
Represented by Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, Buhari said his administration will not deny any Nigerian his or her fundamental human right, but will certainly not encourage expending Nigeria’s hard earned resources on any government official seekingmedical care abroad especially when there is evidence of expertise in Nigeria.
In view of several agitations by different groups of health workers, the president said the federal government would review all previous agreements and take reasonable decisions that will not intrude on the rights of workers.
In his address, Chairman of the occasion, Senator Adamu Aliero said there was urgent need to develop a national health information infrastructure to disseminate information and improve the quality and safety of heath care, adding that the country lacked a dependable data about the specific health challenges of the respective communities in the country.
Also speaking, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State expressed his administration’s commitment towards boosting healthcare services in the state.
Earlier, NMA President Dr. Lawrence Obembe said the theme of the conference was aimed at critically evaluating the roles and challenges of doctors in a democratic setting.