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Nigeria loses N400 billion annually to medical trip abroad – Buhari

Valentine Chinyem

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said the government’s inability to address challenges in the health sector has resulted in the loss of about N400 billion to medical tourism annually.

Buhari, who stated this at the inauguration of Senior Executive Course (SEC) 41, 2019 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Plateau State, was represented by the state governor, Simon Bako Lalong.

Speaking on the theme of the occasion, ‘Funding Universal Health Care Delivery in Nigeria’ Buhari said the health sector remains characterised by low response to emergencies and brain drain despite his administration’s commitment to improving health service delivery.

According to him, “Government has shown strong commitment in the revitalisation of the health sector. These efforts notwithstanding, our health sector is still characterised by low response to the public health emergencies, inability to combat the outbreak of deadly diseases and mass migration of medical personnel out of the country.”

“This has resulted in increasing medical tourism by Nigerians in which Nigeria loses N400 billion on an annual basis.”

Stating efforts of his administration in public health service delivery, Buhari said the government had in January 2019 commenced Primary Healthcare Revitalisation Programme aimed at ensuring 10,000 functional primary healthcare facilities with at least one functional healthcare facility in communities across the country.

Buhari said the programme was expected to focus more on the rural areas with particular attention given to vulnerable populations such as women, children of under five year old and elders in collaboration with international partners.

The president said the essence of the programme was to ensure that quality healthcare services were delivered to Nigerians across the country irrespective of their locations.