Politics and Policy

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has criticized the culture of Nigerians seeking medical treatment abroad, a trend called medical tourism.

In a forum organized by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, the Vice President made the observation through Mr Osita Okechukwu, who represented him, stating that the culture of going to foreign medical facilities had a negative effect on the nation’s reserves.

“Thousands of Nigerians travel abroad each year to seek medical treatment as the nation’s health care system remains poorly funded” Mr Okechukwu said, on the Vice President’s behalf, according to Premium Times.

Prof Osinbajo’s focus here appears to be on private citizens who go outside the shores of the country for medical treatment. Otherwise, it should still be fresh on his mind that the most popular and recent medical tourist from Nigeria to a foreign country is the President, Muhammadu Buhari, who only returned from a 103-day stay in London.

In any case, Ms Lauretta Onochie did defend the President as being a “private citizen”, so the President still falls into the category of the “thousands of Nigerians” whom the Vice President’s statement criticizes.

Perhaps this is the Buhari administration’s way of acknowledging the magnitude of the expenses made by his recent trip away from the country, and the effect such trips can have on the economy when other public officials do the same.

It is to be seen what the Government will do to radically reverse the trend by boosting the capacity of local hospitals to international standards.

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