Posted by News Express | 11 April 2017 | 1,915 times
Medical experts have urged the public and private sector institutions to come together to radicalise the health sector in Nigeria and ensure it is fit for purpose. Patronage of medical facilities locally will free resources used for foreign medical tourism to be ploughed into developing medical infrastructure and manpower in the country.
This was the position of speakers at the Doctors’ Forum, organised by The Bridge Clinic and Pathcare Nigeria in Lagos at the weekend. The programme focused on “Addressing the Fallout of Medical Tourism in Nigeria”. In the panel were Dr Yemi Johnson, Founder/Medical Director, First Cardiology Consultants; and Dr Ebun Bamgboye, Clinical Director, St. Nicholas Hospital. The discussion was moderated by Dr Richardson Ajayi, Chief Executive Officer, The Bridge Clinic; with Chief (Dr) Oluyomi Abayomi Finnih, Chief Medical Director, Finnih Medical Centre as the Chairman.
Dr Bamgboye, speaking on “Nephrology and the Success Recorded in Renal Transplant in Nigeria”, revealed that Nigerians spent at least $1 billion yearly on medical treatment in various countries of the world. He said: “India is attractive because of its experience in high technology especially in diagnostics and also for the relatively lower cost of treating patients. Nigerians go there for cancer, spinal cord, plastic and neuro-surgery as well as fertility and transplant tourism.”
He identified the problem associated with renal transplantation in Africa as manpower, facilities, literacy level, poverty, lack of access to transplantation centres, lack of dialysis facilities and other infrastructure and quality and safety issues.
Bamgboye lamented that even where there were adequate facilities and well-trained personnel at home, privileged Nigerians still prefer to travel abroad for medical care.
He further said: “The reasons range from showing off their elevated status and wealth, to the lack of trust and confidencein the Nigerian healthcare delivery system.
Moreover, those occupying public offices are entitled to free or government-sponsored medical care, so they opt for foreign hospitals as a way of wasting the country’s scarce resources. After all they will not spend their hard-earned money. Our leaders take solace in the fact that they, unlike the rest of us, can always fly abroad at public expense for their medicals and leave us here without the ability to receive blood transfusion.”
According to Dr Johnson, it was high time Nigeria upgrade its skill-base as a nation.
“Patients who go abroad for cardiovascular related diseases such as routine health check, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, arrhythmias, angina, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease and so on; do so because of the poor infrastructure and non-availability of high-tech equipment, shortage of manpower and medical supplies,” he said.
Dr Johnson also noted that registration of products was cumbersome and expensive and government policies were confusing and oftentimes counter-productive. “Medical tourism started with patients from the developed world seeking high quality less expensive medical care in less developed countries,” he said.
In his own intervention, Dr Ajayi declared that for Nigeria’s healthcare to be fit for purpose, more needed to be done in the areas of quality management, customers’ surveys, effective complaints management and patient reported objective measures.
He said that Nigeria would only thrive when the right personnel were put in place to run the healthcare system and that a lot needed to be done to improve the health structures and institutions.
Dr. Finnih expressed gratitude to all stakeholders who contributed to the breakthrough in the medical sector. He specially commended private entrepreneurs who provided technical support with well trained and qualified medical personnel.
Professor Ibironke Akinsete, Chairman, Pathcare Laboratories, said that the medical experts were well equipped to address the problem and as private individuals, adding that “we can come up with technical support to make the healthcare in Nigeria fit for purpose.”
The forum is a gathering of medical professionals. It provides a platform for knowledge sharing, information exchange and networking for medical personnel as they seek to improve the service of healthcare delivery in Nigeria. The interactive session will help medical experts to keep abreast of pertinent trends on increasingly important issues which can affect their individual and medical competitiveness.
The Doctors’ Forum was sponsored by The Bridge Clinic, Nigeria’s foremost fertility clinic, in collaboration with Pathcare Laboratories. It features a carefully selected mix of medical consultants, health practitioners and industry leaders with a carefully targeted audience of industry-shapers for today and tomorrow.
•Photo shows, from left; Chief (Dr.) Oluyomi Abayomi Finnih, Chief Medical Director, Finnih Medical Centre; Professor Ibironke Akinsete, Chairperson, Pathcare Laboratories; Dr Ebun Bamgboye, Clinical Director, St. Nicholas Hospitals; Dr Yemi Johnson, Founder/Medical Director, First Cardiology Consultants, Lagos; and Dr Richardson Ajayi, Managing Director, The Bridge Clinic; at the Doctors’ Forum, organised by The Bridge Clinic and Pathcare Laboratories in Lagos.