During the ongoing strike by the National Association Residents Doctors (NARD), the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu to the United Kingdom for medical care has ignited widespread anger.
Over 15 days, residents have gone on strike to protest of the government’s refusal to respect promises on health insurance.
In the lead-up to the 2015 elections, the APC released a manifesto describing the party’s plans for if it were to be elected. In the manifesto, the then opposition party stated that “Sadly, the best healthcare in Nigeria remains a plane ticket abroad.”
To have federal spending on healthcare jump from 5.5% to 10% to 15% by 2020, the APC promised that it would increase the proportion of federal spending on healthcare from 5.5% to 10% as soon as possible.
The promises were broken.
It reveals that the party has not met its goal of allocating 10% of healthcare budgets to the budget, much less the even higher allocation of 15% required by 2020. In the 2021 budget, 7% of the overall allocation to healthcare was designated for medical research.
The party also proposed a healthcare network of local clinics and dispensaries, which would provide free medications and services.
This was followed by the APC declaring that they would “build a network of local and mobile clinics offering free health services and drugs.
Buhari is made fun of by Wike, who states that he will not travel abroad for medical checkup.
Despite the promises, the leaders of the APC have been supporting medical tourism overseas for six years now.
N14.6 billion is available to renovate the Aso Villa Clinic, but it seems as though President Buhari takes frequent business trips.
The statehouse clinic, located in the presidential villa, has so far cost over N14 billion.
President Buhari, however, has spent over 200 days in the UK receiving medical treatment, while he has been President for the past six years.
Of the 14.5 billion Naira (approximately $177 million USD) that have been allocated to the clinic in the Presidential Villa, only the President and his family have used it to seek medical help outside of Nigeria.
The President’s medical team has been with him for more than 40 years. In order to better understand his medical history, he should keep working with those who already know about it.
The sole son of President Buhari, Yusuf Buhari, had a motorcycle accident in Nigeria in 2017, and, as a result, he was flown to Germany for initial treatment.
However, many Nigerians are dying from cholera outbreaks due to their inability to afford the alternative. About 800 people have died as a result of cholera outbreaks in Nigeria, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
APC-led House rejected a bill that would have barred public officials from making travel arrangements for citizens who wish to use medical tourism.
In 2019, the House of Representatives rejected a bill that would have banned members of the government from traveling abroad for medical treatment.
In May 2019, a bill sponsored by Edo State senator Sergius Ogun was rejected by the full committee of the whole.
While serving as Deputy Speaker of the House, the Deputy Leader, Idris Wase, opposed the bill, arguing that it should be dismissed. The doctor cited a personal experience in the country about the medical situation.
During a checkup in Nigeria, the doctors assured me that I was fine. People encouraged me to travel for a checkup, but it turned out that I was unwell, and I had been there for 3 months, so you are telling me I need permission from the Attorney General before I can travel for another checkup? Get rid of this bill! Instead of trying to stop people from moving, we should instead facilitate healthy travel so that people can help strengthen the healthcare sector,” argued these individuals.
Even though Mr. Wase has alternative options, the majority of Nigerians do not have these options.
This comment was made by Dr. Abdulkareem Babarinde, a medical doctor. He asserted that the real reason politicians visit foreign countries for medical care is due to a “insatiable appetite for anything foreign.”
In the past, the same politicians have consistently underfunded the sector. More of them might have wished to access their healthcare in the tertiary healthcare sector, which is unfortunately not very interesting. If you count the number of teaching hospitals that have functioning MRI and CT machines, you will find that there are significantly fewer teaching hospitals with functional MRI and CT scans. These are the bare necessities.
There have been some movements in the private hospital sector, so the politicians ought to be able to use it. Investing in private healthcare delivery has a lot of private investors. Most of these politicians have not yet learned how to treat customers politely.
Those British hospitals will be run by Nigerian-trained doctors who are currently working in Nigeria. More and more medical specialists are relocating to the UK every year. For anyone looking to relocate to Canada, there are Nigerian doctors available there. The doctors are ready to commence. They’ll get the best care by investing in the sector.