Health tourism

Last month was a news report of how OAU Ile Ife teaching hospital medical staff are working really hard to change the views that many people have of our local hospitals saying they had successful 14 open heart surgeries in 2016. Bottom line was that people are encouraged to stop health tourism – stay in the country to be treated by qualified doctors as opposed to going to India, Germany or in the case of our President Buhari, London, UK.

This is a local hospital to me when I was at home so it was nice to read of improvement, however, when I read this news I thought it was a waste of time talking to Nigerian public, most people can’t afford hospital bill at home let alone overseas bill.

Everyday people that can afford to foot their bill will think twice before staying at home for so many reasons – medical practitioner to be held accountable if things go wrong is just one.

I thought the message of the Chief Medical Director Prof Victor Adetiloye advocating for people could go a lot further if he targets people whose medical bills  are paid for with taxpayers money i.e politicians.

If there is a contractual clause that says politicians must receive their health treatment in the country or responsible for paying their own bill if treated abroad, we would have been one step forward.

Now with President Buhari and his hide and seek game and his medical status. A friend called today to ask where Buhari was as if I have a monitor strapped on the old man’s ankle, I am as baffled as everyone else when I read last week that the president is coming to London for a break and a medical check up.

Last year June, President was in London for an ear infection treatment – we yelled and reminded the president one of the many wasteful ways he promised not to undertake.

So this time again, President Buhari is here for yet another medical treatment, nature of illness undisclosed leaving Nigerians guessing the worse and a quick reminder of Yar Adua who passed away in office after months of deceiving Nigerians.

While being a president is arguably the most important job in a nation, I strongly believe a president seeking for health treatment outside is a failure on many levels. Just last year, ₦3.8B naira is said to be spent on Aso Rock clinic alone and yet the hospital is not good enough?

And most importantly if a president can not trust anyone within his own country with his health treatment, then we have a bigger problem.

To put how wasteful this trip is into perspective, a few years ago a friend’s told me that his inlaw who was visiting the UK was giving £5,500 bill after the birth of her child. This is a normal delivery with no complications.

Now imagine how much is being wasted on presidential kind of health treatment?

It is the same story with education sector, our country will never progress if we fail to invest money at home, it is obvious this lots don’t care.

Our politicians, especially all of the ones we’ve recycled for the last 4 decades are not serious and incapable of change.

It is up to us to now realise e no go better until we make them.


11 thoughts on “Health tourism

  1. Dear F/olakemi,

    Thanks for shining light on this,

    If 3.8 billlion Naira – millions of dollars even in highly devalued Naira – was spent on Aso Rock clinic, why did the president need to travel abroad to receive medical treatment?

    It boggles the mind how much his stay that is already over a month will cost the country in this season of great austerity.

    You are right, and many have made such suggestion over the years: that top government officials, et cetera, be made to receive their medial care in Nigeria or else pay for such out of their own pockets. It’s not only going to save the country tons of money but it should make those in power see to the need for improved medical facilities in the country.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is true that the situation is like pulling teeth, very sad. The division is uncanny. But they have managed to achieve ‘loyalty’ within that it actually does not matter who we choose, the outcome is the same. Troubling.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  2. This is a very nice piece (as always).
    I saw a clip on Sahara Reporters, the public are well aware of the situation, but what can they do? Didn’t President Buhari say he will put a stop to health tourism, and what does he do repeatedly the goes abroad for medical treatment at the expense of the state). If people will no longer vote for him (I’m sure those from his ethnic/religious group will no matter what) the next person will do the same thing. What then? Are we destined to repeat the same old scenario?
    We’ve heard all the talk about government equipping hospitals, but it is not just equipment its payment of salaries and maintenance (which black people run away from). How will this be funded? The states will have to raise taxes to cover a portion of these fees, as everyone looks to government for everything (which is unreasonable and increasingly unrealistic). People will have to face up to the fact, if they want hospitals, schools etc that are of a reasonable standard – they will have to pay for it, but no one likes paying taxes. That is a question everyone runs away from by pushing it all onto the government. Agreed the government is hopeless at these things as those in power seek merely to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. This should mean people/ states should take on an increasing burden for running these institutions, without that we are going nowhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true, jco. Thanks for the clip and yes stopping health tourism is one of the many promises of Buhari, he didn’t stop there, he even made them upgrade AR clinic with obsene amount, yet the clinic isn’t good enough.

      I think Nigerians even the farmers will be happy to pay taxes (hard task but doable) if they see with their ‘korokoro eyes’ that looters are prosecuted and jailed with money recovered put to good use also if they see that taxes collected is put back into the community immediately. My father being a farmer was a diligent tax payer (small change but if everyone contributed it adds up), he didn’t like the public harassment so he chose to pay up. The way it was done locally before most people stopped is that adults are cornered in streets and students at school, mothers at market places with request of tax receipts. What people don’t want is enriching heartily public officials, they have heard enough of promises.

      With Buhari, he has broken almost all of the promises he made with the exception of 5k promise for the poorest which we all know why he started doing that in December.

      As you rightly pointed out, come 2019, it doesn’t matter who is running, tribal sentiments will be dragged in to it all, however, at this point I have seen it all…


      1. Thank you FK, but we arrive at a stalemate, for over 40 years no politician or institution is brave and strong enough to go after the corrupt with impunity (the EFCC are just ‘window dressing’). They can pick up the ‘small fry’, but the higher ups are spared to carry on as before, Babangida, Obasanjo, Abubakar, their families, the state governors etc are free.
        I think since they are apparently untouchable – leave them. Rethink the policy and draw up a model that is more localised. Apparently most corruption occurs at the state and local government area levels, if that means devolving power from Abuja, so be it. Draw a line in the sand, and make this new body independent, so that they are free to act appropriately and not be manipulated by politicians. A change of course regards corruption is sorely needed.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I like the localised power structure, I think states are turning into that gradually with dwindling oil wealth.

          I completely agree with this because many state governors if people had paid attention should never have made it to be senator – it is incredible how this power progression works, they have nothing to show for 8 yrs and still voted in to be in the senate.


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