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Medical tourism: Buhari’s minister reveals what Nigerian govt is doing to curb menace

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has revealed measures put in place by the Federal Government to reduce the spate of medical tourism among Nigerians.

According to him, the government was upgrading eight hospitals in various specialties, providing loans to private hospitals through the Bank of Industry for the upgrading of their equipment and facilities, and crashing of price for accessing treatment for different ailments in state-owned hospitals.

Adewole said this during the weekend at the unveiling of a hospital’s state-of-the-art laser equipment for minimal access surgeries in Abuja.

The Minister said recent reports from health facilities across the country show an increasing number of Nigerians abroad on medical vacation were returning to home to continue their health procedures owing to measures put in place by government to reduce the cost of accessing treatment for various ailments.

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Adewole, who was represented by National Hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. Jafaru Momoh, said: “We are already reversing medical tourism. We have been able to observe that more people are returning from India and the Middle East to continue their treatments at home because they are beginning to realise it is cheaper to have their medical procedures in Nigeria.

“Cancer is one of the major reasons people travel abroad for treatment. But, the government is upgrading eight hospitals in different specialties to cater for the needs of those who travel abroad for medical treatment.

“Two of the hospitals are already on stream. The Lagos University Teaching Hospital, the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital, and the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital will soon come on stream.

“By the time all the eight hospitals are on stream, there will be a further reduction in medical tourism among Nigerians.

“However, we must bear in mind that there will be people who for the sake of privacy and other personal preferences will still opt for treatment abroad.”