Foreign medical tourism, capital flight should stop — Sambo

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Nigerians have been urged to stop travelling overseas for medical treatment, as this is one of the ways the nation can stop capital flight.

This was the crux of speeches delivered at the inauguration of the Kwara Advanced Medical Diagnostic Centre in Ilorin on Friday.

Present at the occasion were the Vice-President Namadi Sambo; Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed; and Kwara State Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Kayode Issa. They decried what they described as outflow of resources due to medical tourism abroad.

Sambo said, “Having put in place an international medical centre such as this, I am confident that the outflow of Nigeria’s resources in medical tourism to other countries will become a thing of the past. Specifically, it is hoped that this will enable us to generate foreign exchange and at the same time, stop capital flight as our people try to access medical treatment overseas.

“Beside, this medical centre will promote health tourism in Kwara State and also attract patients from overseas, particularly from neighbouring West African countries and beyond. Let me therefore seize this opportunity to call on government to merge available equipment in this centre with appropriate manpower to enable patients get value for money.”

He advised the Kwara State Government to invite Nigerian medical experts working in America, Europe and other parts of the world to come and work at the diagnostic centre.

Noting that proper diagnosis is a necessary precondition for effective medical treatment, Governor Ahmed said the centre was critical to the state government’s policy thrust on health, with its focus on quality and access.

He disclosed that the centre had sophisticated medical equipment that included MRI, CT scan, fluoroscopy and other scanning and x-ray machines, among others.

Ahmed said the centre would be run in partnership with MedEquip Company Nigeria Limited, which had handled similar projects in many parts of the country.

He said, “It is our hope that the opening of this centre will help reverse the current trend whereby Nigerians spend millions of dollars on health tourism to countries such as India, Egypt and South

Africa. In the process, we hope to generate considerable internal revenue by providing advanced medical diagnosis at competitive rates here in Kwara State.”

Issa said the centre was established to provide excellent environment for world-class medical diagnostic services, primarily for Kwarans, and the generality of Nigerians and foreigners who desire world-class treatment in the country.

He added that the centre was intended to contribute to the national drive to reduce the outflow of Nigerians seeking medical treatment overseas.

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