By Katurak Yashim
To curb medical tourism in Nigeria, private sector health service providers from the CTF showcased the latest technologies and treatments available at their facilities.
Service providers under the umbrella of the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), FCT Chapter, showcased the latest technologies and treatments for diseases such as kidney, lung and heart disease at an event titled “What’s New in Abuja ”.
The other medical conditions are brain and spinal cord injuries, pediatric care, physiotherapy, including the latest equipment used to investigate and diagnose various health problems.
The event attracted doctors from different fields of medicine, including medical directors and heads of health establishments in the territory.
Guild chairman Dr Wisdom Ihejieto said the event has become necessary to inform and educate the public about improvements in the quality of health services in the country to reduce the rate of medical tourism.
Ihejieto who condemned the increasing rate of medical tourism in Nigeria assured that most of the services available abroad were provided in Nigeria.
“Private sector health service providers recognize the need to improve the quality of services available to the public and today’s event is to showcase new technologies, equipment and treatments available in Nigeria in different areas of health. Medicine.
“Since we have this expertise, there is a need to educate people and tell them that these services are available here.
“It is urgent that we begin the process of reversing medical tourism to Asia, Europe and other countries of the world.
“This event aims to showcase the expertise we have. We’ve heard people talk about heart surgery, neurosurgery, and diagnostic centers. All of these things are available, so why do we have to travel outside of the country to benefit from these services.
“Of course you travel out of the country and enter Europe and find out that the doctor you see there is a Nigerian,” Ihejieto said.
Dr Iseko Iseko, group medical director, The Limi Hospitals, said that despite efforts by private healthcare providers to improve the quality of healthcare services, medical tourism continues unabated, undermining gains made in the sector.
Iseko said: “To curb medical tourism, it is important that citizens know what kind of services are available here in the country and that they are quality services that are well provided.
“This will help citizens to better decide to access these services. Cardiocare Hospital, a member of Limi Hospitals, offers cardiac catheterization services as well as dialysis and kidney transplants.
“Cardiac catheterization means that we can operate on the heart even when the patient is awake; they don’t need to travel overseas, we can also put on pacemakers and fix heart blocks.
“We do this regularly and safely here in Abuja and it helps prevent medical tourism to some extent.
“Much has been done to improve the health sector and if Nigerians achieve this by taking advantage of the multiple services available, very few people will have to travel abroad.”
Dr Ferdinand Umelo, medical director and consultant gynecologist, Cedarcrest Hospitals, Gudu, said the hospital provides health services in all areas of medicine.
Umelo said these services are surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics including a robust clinical support service, radiology and physiotherapy.
“We collaborate with local and international cardiologists to provide cardiac catheterization services for the treatment of patients with heart disease and vascular disease.
“We have a COVID-19 molecular lab and polio services.
“Most of the latest technological equipment used to diagnose and treat various medical conditions can be found in our hospital.
“The reversal of medical tourism in Nigeria should not be left to hospitals alone to correct. The government and policy makers must also make efforts to resolve the problem, ”he added.
Umelo noted that it was difficult to provide quality health services in Nigeria due to the high cost of medical equipment and staff training.
He called on the government and policy makers to support private sector health care providers to enable them to provide affordable health services to the public.
“The truth is that providing quality health services in Nigeria is not cheap and the government is not supporting hospitals enough to make health care affordable.
“The government has a huge responsibility to make this happen. For example, an appropriate and functioning health insurance plan will go a long way in making health care accessible.
“In addition, support hospitals in the provision of health services; there are only a few countries that provide interest-free loans to hospitals to be able to provide the necessary equipment for patient care.
“So this is again something the government should do, introduce interest-free loans to hospitals so that they can access funds to provide the right technology, the necessary equipment and the staff to provide health care. quality health to the population.
“Many private and public hospitals face funding issues and this needs to be addressed if the sector has a chance to improve in terms of access to services, affordability of services and improved performance indices. health of the country, ”he said.
For his part, Mr. Everest Okpara, President of Everight Diagnostic and Laboratory Service Limited, Wuse II, Abuja, attributed the increasing rate of medical tourism in Nigeria to the lack of public confidence in the health system.
Okpara, represented by Mr. Aloysius Aleke, laboratory director, Everight Diagnostic and Laboratory Service Limited, said healthcare practitioners will continue to make efforts to bridge the gap.
“We are doing our best to continue to try to close the gap, as our responsibility is to provide the healthcare industry with accurate, reliable and timely diagnostic services that meet global standards.
“The health system in Nigeria has many shortcomings in terms of the quality and availability of health care. Nigeria can be a destination medical tourism hub if the government works with private sector health service providers.
“This is because these service providers are making a tremendous effort to improve the quality of health services available to Nigerians.
“For example, here we have a 1.5 Tesla MRI, we provide the latest CT, PCR solutions and other medical services that are still not available in many healthcare facilities.
“Other services available here can detect and treat gastrointestinal infections, respiratory infections, sexual health, and non-communicable diseases such as gene mutation studies,” he said.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that CTF health facilities that attended the event include the Wellington Neurosurgery Center, Brain and Spine, Regions Stroke and Neuroscience Hospital.
The others are the Regional Comprehensive Neurorehabilitation Center, Abbott Rapid Diagnostics, and the Zenith Medical and Kidney Center.
The Guild of Medical Directors is an organization of private physicians operating in Nigeria.
Medical tourism, also known as health tourism, is when an individual leaves their country of residence to a foreign country in search of medical treatment not available in their country. (NAA)
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