Nigeria Loses N80bn Yearly To Foreign Medical Trips

 The Senate Committee on Health has disclosed that about N80billion is lost annually by Nigerians seeking better medical treatment abroad. The Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who stated this at the Ministry of Health budget defense described spending in the health sector as worrisome, and wondered why only 20% of health budget should be on capital expenditure. He noted that “the need for Nigerians to begin to have renewed confidence that the health sector can actually provide them with health care is serious.” Sen. Okowa urged the ministry to improve on its data collection and its authenticity as well as conducting true advocacy programmes to improve the health status of people in the rural areas. Highlighting the need for the National Health Bill to be passed, he said it would go a long way in tackling the problems in the health sector. In his response, the Minister of State for Health, Ali Pate, who represented the Minister of Health, noted that most Nigerian patients who travel abroad for medical treatment use private hospitals and added that there was an ongoing move to find out why private hospitals in Nigeria were not doing well. He cited capital problems, policy constraints, and regulatory framework as militating against private hospitals. He however noted that the policy thrust of government was targeted towards placing preventive health care measures at the same level as curative health care. He also advocated for the strong legislation, like the Tobacco Bill, to help stem illnesses like cancer.

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Osaro Agho


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