Nigerians spends $1bn annually on medical tourism, says Minister

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Minister of State, Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, says Nigerians are spending over $1 billion annually on medical treatment.

He spoke on Friday while commissioning the newly constructed Amenity and Labour wards at the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, Taraba State.

Ehanire said spending such a huge amount of money for treatment abroad was not good for the nation’s economy.

He said the Federal Government was committed to upgrading health facilities nationwide to minimise medical tourism.

“The beautiful edifice I am seeing here today will surely provide world class medical services to the people of this state.

“It will further reduce the high rate of travelling for medical treatment abroad which costs this country over $1 billion annually,” he said.

The minister, however, said provision of infrastructure must be complemented with good attitude towards patients.

“There is a need for doctors, nurses and other health personnel to treat patients with dignity.

“In spite of the state- of- the- art facilities, bad attitude towards patients can be destructive,” he said.

Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, represented by the Commissioner for Health, Mr Innocent Vakkai, commended the Federal Government and other partners for their support in effective health service delivery.

He said his government was committed to effective health service delivery to the citizenry.

“To show our commitment, we have so far spent N 1.3 billion in fighting hepatitis and other infectious diseases.

“Recently, we recruited 160 nurses to improve our service in the health centres across the state,” he said.

The Medical Director, Dr Inusa Wiza, said the hospital had achieved remarkable development since his management team came on board in 2011.

He identified lack of X-ray machine, scarcity of potable water, shortage of consultants and indiscipline among staff as some of their major challenges.

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