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Stop Medical Tourism, Lai Mohammed Pleads With Nigerians



The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has urged Nigerians to end the habit of medical tourism and access healthcare in the country.

Mohammed noted that Nigeria now has affordable world-class hospitals that can treat all ailments.

The minister said this during a media tour of the facilities of Duchess International Hospital in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos

“There is no need for anyone to go abroad,” he emphasised.

“This is indeed a purpose-built, state-of-the-art, 100-bed hospital aimed at delivering the highest standard of healthcare, using the most advanced technology and treatments to provide Nigerians with the best medical expertise available anywhere in the world.”

He stressed that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has achieved a lot in terms of public-private partnership and added that the visit is in continuation of their media tour of development projects in all sectors of the economy.

“Even where the project is private-sector driven, the Federal Government has either provided the enabling environment or, in some cases, supported it with funding,” says the minister.

The Federal Government, he continued, through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bank of Industry provided financial support for Duchess International Hospital.

According to Mohammed, this is not new. He recounted the financial support that the FG provided for the health sector in the wake of COVID-19 and said “this was to provide credit support for the healthcare sector through long-term, low-cost financing.”

He described it as the Federal Government’s Intervention in the Healthcare Sector through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

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“The NSIA has invested a total of $22.5 million in two diagnostic centers in Kano and Umuahia ($5.5 million each) and the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre in Lagos ($11.5 million). The NSIA is also committed to building a new quaternary hospital in Abuja,” he added.

The essence of these financial interventions and projects in the critical healthcare sector is to fast-track the evolution of world class healthcare facilities like this Duchess International Hospital.

With that, we can conserve our foreign reserves, earn foreign exchange for the country, create jobs, reverse brain drain, become a destination for medical tourists and also ensure affordable and standard healthcare for Nigerians.

Quoting available records, Muhammed lamented that Nigerians spend between $1.2 and $1.6 billion on medical tourism and said it has largely affected the nation’s foreign reserves.

Meanwhile, to retain doctors, the minister recommended that the healthcare facilities must be equipped to world standard level and doctors and other healthcare workers must be adequately remunerated.

Hence, he applauded facilities like Duchess International as veritable tools for job creation while also attracting medical tourists from across the world.

More world class healthcare facilities like Duchess Hospital coming on stream, Nigeria is set to become a destination for medical tourists, instead of having our citizens travel yearly and spending over N500 billion for medical tourism.

Speaking also, the CEO of Duchess Hospital, Dr. Adetokunbo Shitta-Bey, projected their vision to be Africa’s favourite Hospital.

Its goal remains to reverse medical tourism by winning the trust of “our clientele and of the community by demonstrating competence, reliability, affordability and empathy”.

Shitta-Bey explained also that currently they are setting out to demonstrate that healthcare is delivered at an international standard that is affordable and available in Nigeria.

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