President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed his determination to put an end to the increasing number of public servants seeking medical treatment abroad.
He spoke on Thursday in Port Harcourt at the 36th Annual General Meeting and International Scientific Conference of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria.
Jonathan described medical tourism as one of the inevitable fallouts of globalization that had changed the world to a global village.
The President, however, expressed sadness that the situation was being misconstrued by Nigerians, who interpret medical tourism as inadequate health delivery system in the country.
He said, “While some of our compatriots look at medical tourism out of Nigeria from the perspective that it is indicative of inadequacies in our healthcare delivery system, a recent analysis by the Federal Ministry of Health brought to light that majority of the conditions for which Nigerian public servants sought healthcare abroad for a three-year period can adequately be handled in Nigeria.”
President Jonathan, who was represented at the occasion by the Minister of Health, Professor Chukwu Onyebuchi, stated that lack of information about locations where such medical services could be accessed was responsible for the misconception on medical tourism.
He disclosed that the Health minister had been directed to introduce guidelines for the publication of acceptable information on public and private healthcare facilities in Nigeria.
He said, “Other measures government has adopted to reverse medical tourism include the stimulation and facilitation of private sector engagement in the healthcare industry.”
The President, however, expressed gratitude to the medical association for exhibiting courage in the area of health entrepreneurship.
He advised participants at the conference to take advantage of incentives offered by government to adopt new business methods that would reposition their (participants) practices for high-end diagnosis and therapeutic services.