FG, States In Partnership To End Medical Tourism

hospitalThe Federal Government is partnering with the state governments to ensure improved medical services to discourage Nigerians from embarking on unnecessary medical tourism abroad.

The Minister for Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, dropped the hint on Friday during a meeting with the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, at the Government House in Uyo.

Professor Adewole said that Nigeria had the required expertise in the health sector, but regretted that there was no trust by Nigerians.

He pointed that there was the need to build trust through improved facilities and services.

The Minister noted that Akwa Ibom State government recorded tremendous improvement in healthcare delivery between 2014 and 2015, as a result of deliberate policies of the state government.

He listed measures by the Federal Government to encourage State governments to invest in improved healthcare.

Governor Udom Emmanuel sought for an upward review of the Federal Allocation to the state, as the current allocation was grossly inadequate for any meaningful development in the health sector.

He said the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital in Uyo was in dire need of Federal Government’s intervention.

The Governor also appealed to the Federal Government to establish a Federal Laboratory in the state.

The Minister’s visit was part of his tour of health facilities in Nigeria.

CBN Adds To Forex Prohibition List             

forexThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has added overseas school fees and medical tourism to its list of items prohibited from the interbank foreign exchange window.

This brings the items on the forex prohibition list to 43 in number.

On Thursday, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State recommended the addition of the two items to the list.

He was speaking at the Cable Newspaper colloquium in Lagos.

In reaction to the development, the naira has hit a record low of 325 to the dollar while the pound trades for 450.

This follows shortage of foreign exchange caused by importers scrambling for the greenback to meet their obligations overseas.

While traders expect the naira to weaken further in coming days, the CBN official exchange rate has remain unchanged at 197 naira to the dollar.

Medical Tourism: Uduaghan Reveals Plan To Recreate ‘India’ In Delta State

The Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, has revealed plans to turn the State into Nigeria’s top destination for medical tourism as a means of attracting thousands of Nigerians who travel to other countries, including India, thereby boosting the economies of those countries.

“As part of our Delta Beyond Oil (agenda) we are looking at areas of tourism and one area of tourism is medical tourism,” the governor said while speaking on the State’s health sector on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

Uduaghan, who said his administration is making efforts at ensuring the welfare of the people in regards to their health, stressed that the human capital development agenda under his administration’s 3 point agenda covers three sub sectors, health, education and empowerment.

“Being the former commissioner for health, I had a fair idea of the status of our health. When I left, I became the SSG but while still the SSG, I had my eyes on the health sector. Now that I became a governor, so I had a fair idea of what we intended to achieve.”

He further stated that his administration placed emphasis on “improving the primary healthcare, deal majorly with secondary healthcare and also lay some emphasis on tertiary healthcare.”

In dealing with the primary healthcare, focus was on killer diseases and maternal and children mortality

According to the governor, the two major challenges faced in the sector, at the grassroots level, are ignorance and poverty.

“A lot of our people do not take health as priority, so nobody keeps money in case you have a health challenge so that when the health challenge comes up, you see people running around for money. When they don’t have money, they easily resort to quacks.”

“We tried as much as possible to see how we can assist people at that level in dealing with their health issues by making sure that the cost of health at that level is not too much… That is why we had our free maternal healthcare services. that’s why we had our free under 5 healthcare service, a lot of immunization issues, a lot of our rural healthcare programme were free. That was also combined with education to deal with the issue of ignorance.”

He also spoke on tttempts made the government at encouraging Nigerians to patronise local hospitals for advanced health problems. In addressing issues of advanced health problems, “we needed to deal with infrastrusture, equipment and personnel to run those facilities,” he said.

“So far, we have tried to deal with the infrastructure in some of the hospitals” including 6 specialist hospitals.

“In the number of years that I’ve been the governor, we have tried to improve on the equipment in those hospitals and we are still dealing with the infrastructure.”

Asked about some abandoned projects, especially the Nkoyo Ibori Children’s Medical Centre located at Agbarho road, the governor explained that the centre “was built by the wife of my predecessor” and “was not a government project.”

“That was the pet project of Mrs Nkoyo Ibori which did not take off because the way the hospital was planned and its location affected its taking-off.

“It’s not a government hospital, it’s a private one but what we are trying to do as a state government is to take over the facility,” the governor stated, insisting that “I would not advise anybody to run it as a hospital because I don’t think it’s well located and the concept was not properly articulated.”

He highlighted challenges being faced in getting citizens in need of medical attention to visit the primary healthcare centres often instead of the tertiary hospitals.

“In those tertiary healthcare hospitals, you cannot prevent people generally going to them. So what you do in such places is to create a unit called the family healthcare unit as part of that tertiary hospital, where people go for first attendance in the hospital.”