The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said on Sunday that Nigeria was losing some $800 million (about N125 billion) annually to medical tourism.
The National President of the NMA, Dr Osahon Enabulele, made the announcement in Sokoto at a news conference at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the association.
According to him, no fewer than 5,000 Nigerians travel to India annually for medical tourism.
“That is why we are commending Gov. Idris Wada of Kogi State for heeding our advice when he had an accident and he stayed back in Nigeria for treatment.
“ Other public and political office holders should emulate him and have confidence that there are adequate medical manpower and facilities in Nigeria.
“There is therefore, the urgent need for investments in the nation’s healthcare system.’’
Enabulele urged President Goodluck Jonathan, governors and other top public officials as well as political office holders to emulate the Kogi governor.
“If this is done, the high rate of capital plight used for medical tourism would be curbed and Nigerians should only travel for treatment when it becomes absolutely necessary.’’
Enabulele said that the association was fully committed to taking the nation’s health sector to greater heights.
The medical practitioner said that 3,700 patients were attended to in Tambuwal, Wamakko and Gwadabawa communities during the three-day free medical outreach programme, which ended on Aug.28 in Sokoto State.
He said that no fewer than 98 free surgical operations were conducted in three Local Government Areas of the state during the programme. [NAN]