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Have you heard about ATM?

 Okay, ATM is not the automated teller machine! For us, ATM actually means ‘ALL THINGS MEDICAL’. This is the exhibition and conference to showcase what…

 Okay, ATM is not the automated teller machine! For us, ATM actually means ‘ALL THINGS MEDICAL’. This is the exhibition and conference to showcase what is happening in the Nigerian health space. As scheduled, the exhibition will take place on Monday 19th to Tuesday 20th September, at the NAF conferee centre, in Abuja.

You need this

You need to have critical information at your finger-tips. Just because you never know! People keep asking, ‘Where can we do this or that in Nigeria?’ Or ‘Who can do this procedure or that operation in Nigeria?’ Then, they say, ‘We did not know that this was available in Nigeria!’ So, you need information about what is available and where, as regards medical/ healthcare in Nigeria. As Professor Ohaegbulam, a renowned neurosurgeon and Chief Medical Director of the first private neurosurgical centre in Nigeria said, ‘Nigeria needs an efficient, available, affordable and universal health care system’.

Be informed

There are huge risks for the unwary in medical care in Nigeria. Many people end up patronising dangerous establishments and charlatans simply because they have no clear knowledge of where the real doctors are. For example, the Ogun State government has closed three hospitals in Ifo Local Government area after two pregnant women died. The government accused the hospitals of lacking the competence to treat patients. So information and statistics about what is available in Nigeria is the bedrock of a viable and functional healthcare system.

Similarly, there is the issue with medical tourism and doctors have highlighted the dangers of going to places such as India, South Africa, United Kingdom and Egypt for medical treatment. They pointed out the problems of traveling to these countries without proper information about the doctors, their qualifications and experience. In effect, running to India is not the solution.

Especially if what you need is in Sokoto!

The solution

We need more information about high quality healthcare personnel and facilities in Nigeria. We need positive documentation of the good practices and an end to the bad practices. We have to help our health centres, government hospitals or even private hospitals to be the best they can be.

First things first

Nigeria needs a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) that is effective so that all citizens can receive reasonable health care. Citizens must also be educated and motivated to pay for health insurance as government alone cannot carry the burden of health care financing.

Agreeably, NHIS will be of great value to those who can afford to make the relevant contribution, but there needs to be a way of enabling and empowering the majority of Nigerians to take ownership of their own health. With an effective national health Insurance, more revenue would be available to healthcare and our hospitals will be better equipped to provide modern services. Once we put our house in order, the need for Medical Missions, Medical Tourism etc would consequently diminish.

Government has to harmonize the nation’s health sector by improving on facilities for research and training, and increased capacity to take care of all the emergencies and the challenges that we have in the country. From here the nation could further expand and upgrade to other areas.

 Say ‘STOP’

Say ‘STOP’ to medical tourism. Join us to stop losing huge resources that is better applied to help our own development. We must encourage the development of our own local health care industry and the first step is ATM – All Things Medical conference and exhibition. Thereafter, we must put an end to medical tourism. Government should not sponsor anybody to go and get treatment abroad unless, of course, that treatment is what we cannot offer. This exhibition and conference, and many other efforts all over the country, is the first step to empowering the people and saving lives in Nigeria. We need to bring neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists, rehabilitation specialists, oncologists, gynaecologists, cardiologists, pharmacists, IT specialists, physiotherapists, specialist nurses, and our general practitioners closer to the public: to be able to deliver care at the point of need.

Oga at the top

The Federal Ministry of Health, the NHIS, Nigeria Medical Association, Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria and the Guild of Medical Directors are putting their best foot forward, by supporting this exhibition. The venture set up by the management of Daily Trust Newspapers and Prompt Home Health is a fantastic platform to showcase and harness the best of the Nigerian medical system. This exhibition focuses on the best medical care and technological support enterprises in Nigeria. The major idea being to provide critical information and promote what we have to stem capital flight. Finally, attracting medical tourism into Nigeria is the way forward.

So, join us at the ATM!

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