Medical Tourism In Nigeria – Blind to potential|Part 1.
Ayinla Daniel, RN, RCTN.
(Founder & Chief Editor Care City)
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@mdominguezfoto
“It is estimated that Nigeria loses about $1.3 billion to medical tourism yearly, which has caused a huge burden on the nation’s economy“. Source: The Guardian.
Meet Nigeria “A Federal Republic”, the giant of Africa, the largest country in West Africa, with an interesting & ever-growing economy, a country with so much potential – even the blind can behold the greatness, but somehow, these awesomeness refuses to percolate into vital parts of the country, especially it’s health care system, which is indeed the most important facet of the country. Instead, the honey and milk our country graciously produce steadily flows into the deep and greedy coffers of some selected few. Amazing, isn’t it?
“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria is currently ranked 187 out of 190 countries in the health index.” Source: WHO.
Our country is one that bleeds daily, a colossus of a country, losing blood on a daily basis, she bleeds profusely, and this bleeding is killing her gradually. Sooner, she will be very sick, needing a blood transfusion. Her most priced, most important – her health sector, that should be the greatest in Africa, suffers. Someone asks me, “from what kind of disease does she suffer from?” I answer, “don’t you know how many good Physicians, Registered Nurses, Pharmacists, Medical Laboratory Scientists and Radiographers that are leaving the country?” These fellows are leaving in droves, it’s a massive exodus – these folks leaving “an Egypt, “ for the promised land that flows with milk and honey, though we have no Moses in this scenario and the Pharaoh? Well, I leave you to discover who the Pharaoh is.
I know those fellows who created the IELTS exams are really very happy, as they feed on our desires to want a better life, making it compulsory for people like me and you, colonised by Britain to take English examinations before we can work in their countries. I have been speaking and writing English since I was born my friends, what about you?
These exams are not free, we must pay for them. This is what happens when a country so good, like our country is blind, hidden in darkness, handicapped, not by providence or destiny or God, but by a deliberate act of kindness or wickedness? (don’t mind me).
It’s unfortunate, that when the rich fellows among us fall terribly sick, they are flown out of the country to receive care from the hands of Physicians and Nurses who have escaped their countries because their countries could not provide enough MRI’s or establish enough advance diagnostic centres or train professionals who are ‘diehard’ ready to learn these skills, we run out there, spending a lot of money to seek care from the hands of folks whose countries make things easy for them. Of course, only the wealthy individual can afford this luxury!
Nigeria has the resource to uplift our status in the aspect of health care services to peak performances, taking us to the level where we can be referred to as a country that leads in medical tourism in Africa, oh yes, not mere lofty talks, but the stark reality here my friends.
I work in a health care institution here in Nigeria that has pieces of equipment you will never believe exist in Nigeria and carries out advance procedures that people travel out of the country to seek for and not surprisingly it’s a private firm and characteristic of our government, they do not even notice what is been done there, because they do not care, simple.
Nigeria has the brains. Oh yes, it’s not new news anymore, that Nigerians are hard-working smart fellows, who are ready to be useful, either as crooks, fraudsters, police officers, Physicians, Nurses, Engineers, just mention. But what has the country offered these brilliant minds? Nothing more than the desire to flee to other lands that appreciate labour & ingenuity.
We have Federal Teaching Hospitals that can not boast of having enough CT scans to cater for the needs of advance diagnoses, not to talk of MRI’s or Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories. Many may point fingers at many elements that make us incapable, but these vices were created by fellow men and it will take fellow men to correct them.
If you have ever been to some General Hospitals in Nigeria, you will weep, not for joy, but sorrow. The Physicians & Nurses are underpaid (many of them are employed as LOCUM workers!), basic instruments are gone, looking like inanimate zombies. I have worked in a General Hospital in the Northern part of Nigeria and I know what I saw. And despite this harshness, Nigerians still manage to produce some good fruits. Tell me; they will do much more if more is provided, I strongly believe that they will.
In the next part, I will write about the problems of our health care system. Not detailed, just something to give you an idea about the obvious problems plaguing the health sector.
The ideas herein are solely mine, mined from my few years of experience, exposure, interaction and most importantly, plenty of studies.
I will like to hear from you, drop comments or send me a personal mail
Featured image photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@nmelchorh