‘Nigeria lost N250bn to medical tourism in 2014
NIGERIANS spent a sum of N250 billion in the year 2014 seeking for medical solutions abroad over their ill health conditions, Chief Medical Director University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) Prof. Abdulwaheed Olatinwo, has said.
Olatinwo, a guest speaker at this year lecture of Ilorin University Medical Students Association (ILUMSA) said a re orientation of Nigerians was necessary on the present advanced level of the nation’s health sector just as he urged the medical practitioners in the country to embrace the best practices towards them securing the confidence of their patients.
Besides, the hospital boss said the time when the doctors were treated as God was over as patients have smashed the monopoly of doctors on the knowledge of medicine just as the government rather than the doctors now control the health sector.
He spoke on the topic ‘Nigerian Economic Crisis: Implications Contemporary Medical Practice’.
According to him, “ there is a parlous state of the country’s health sector- which has encouraged medical tourism to other countries to flourish. In 2014, it was reported that about N250 billion is spent annually by Nigerians on medical tourism with countries like India, S/Africa, Egypt, USA, Britain and even far-flung countries like Bangladesh receiving huge numbers of Nigerian medical tourists.”
He added, “Alvin Toffler the Great Futuristic Economist wrote about the astonishing changes propelling into the 21st century. 25years ago doctors were white coated Gods. Patients typically accepted their words as law. Physicians virtually controlled the entire health systems. Their political clout enormous
“Today by contrast Doctors under siege. Patients talk back, they sue for malpractice. Nurses demand responsibility and respect. Pharmaceutical companies are less differential. Insurance managed care groups spinning up. Knowledge monopoly of the medical profession thoroughly smashed. Government, not doctors control health sectors. Doctor is no longer a GOD. There is greater need to identify the pattern and forces of change to be able to cope with them strategically rather than haphazardly in a one by one basis.”
Olatinwo broadened the definition of Brain Drain to include the migration of physicians from the medical profession to other more financially rewarding, non- medical professions.