Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has decried the enormous amount of money Nigerians spend on medical tourism in other countries. He made this known on Thursday in an opening remark at the commencement of a two-day national health dialogue in Abuja.
The health dialogue was chaired by the vice president, and hosted by the Minister for Health, Isaac Adewole. In his speech, Osinbajo, represented by the director general, Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, said medical tourism has cost Nigeria billions of dollars. He said the government wants to stop that trend because it is draining the nation’s reserves.
Thousands of Nigerians travel abroad each year to seek medical treatment as the nation’s health care system remains poorly funded. President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday returned from London after nearly four months of medical leave.
The administration has not disclosed the president’s condition or how much is spent treating him, but analysts estimate Nigeria spends several millions of naira for the president’s healthcare abroad.
Osinbajo said healthcare for Nigerians is important to the Buhari administration. He explained that the president was interested in health issues, but said poverty is also a major issue to look at. He urged states to also join in so as to ensure universal health coverage in the country.