Nigeria Minister of Health Isaac Adewole has challenged physicians in the country to live up to their professional calling and find ways to discourage medical tourism in the country.
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The Minister said that unless Nigerian professionals live up to the task of restoring sanity in the health sector, the challenges facing it will continue to linger if the potentials of health professionals are not harnessed.
The number of Nigerians leaving the country to seek medical treatment abroad is increasing, and this is having a $1.3 million impact in the way of lost revenue on the Nigerian economy.
Tens of thousands of Nigerians travel every year to the US, UK, India, Thailand, Turkey, France, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and China, among other countries, to seek treatment for medical issues ranging from kidney transplants, open heart or cardiac surgeries, neurosurgeries, cosmetic surgeries, orthopedic surgeries, eye surgeries and other health conditions, and even delivering babies.
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In his address, the Chairman of the West Africa College of Physicians, Abel Onunnu, described the migration of health professionals in the West African sub-region as worrisome, noting that the government must find a way to bring it to an end.
The minister made this statement at the annual conference of West African college of physicians that was held in Kaduna. The conference was held under the theme of enhancing performance of the health sector, and the event saw medical professionals discuss topical issues affecting the sector.