Buhari Decries Huge Loses to Medical Tourism Annually

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Muhammadu Buhari
  • Departs Abuja for Jordan

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented that the inability of the government to address various health challenges has caused increasing medical tourism among Nigerians, resulting in huge loses of over N400 billion annually.

President Buhari also yesterday departed Abuja for Amman to honour an invitation by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa holding at the Dead Sea, Jordan.

The president stated this yesterday on the occasion of the inauguration of Senior Executive Course (SEC) 41, 2019 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Plateau State with the theme: ‘Funding Universal Health Care Delivery in Nigeria’.

Represented by the state Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, the president said the government has shown strong commitment in the revitalisation of the health sector, adding that in spite of this, the sector was still characterised by low response to public health emergencies, inability to combat outbreak of deadly diseases and mass migration of medical personnel out of the country.

He said: “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 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 annual basis.”

Buhari added that his government had in January this year flagged off Primary Healthcare Revitalisation Programme with the aim of having 10,000 functional primary healthcare facilities with at least one functional healthcare facility in every political ward across the country.

He 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 years of age and elders in collaboration with international development partners. The essence of the programme, according to the president, was to ensure that quality basic healthcare services were delivered to the majority of Nigerians across the country irrespective of their locations.

He added that his administration has also launched the second National Strategic Health Development Plan 2018-2022 with the plan to achieving universal health coverage in Nigeria.

“This has seen disbursement of funds to high performing states under ‘Save One million Lives Programme for Results (SOML-P for R),” the president stated.

He expressed optimism that nominees of Senior Executive Course (SEC) 41, 2019 would do justice to the enormous health challenges facing Nigeria given the critical role of the health sector to the economy. Buhari tasked the participants to research carefully into the theme in order to proffer policy options that will enable the government improve health sector funding.

Meanwhile, President Buhari yesterday departed Abuja for Amman to honour an invitation by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa holding at the Dead Sea, Jordan.

President Buhari will deliver an address at the opening of the plenary alongside King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein and United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, and join world economic leaders in an informal gathering at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre.

Presidential Spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said the president will also hold bilateral meetings with some world leaders on the sidelines of the Forum.