The amount of money Nigeria losses to medical tourism annually is more than the amount allocated to the health sector in the 2018 Budget, National Secretary, Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku, has said.
He stated this in Abuja during the launch of the 120 Watts Holmium Laser equipment popularly called Moses Technology procured by Kelina Hospital.
Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku said Nigeria losses N359.2 billion to medical tourism annually, which is more than the N340.45 billion allocated the health sector in the 2018 budget. He added that this represents 3.9 per cent of the total N8.6 trillion expenditure plan, and pegs the health cost per citizen in 2018 to N1,888.
He said: “Through an average of 9,000 medical tours occurring monthly from Nigeria to other countries, the nation losses 1.35 billion dollars annually to medical tourism, with India being the major beneficiary of 500 visits monthly. Many Nigerians who travel out of the country for their medical needs often have to go back-monthly for check-ups and sometimes for corrective surgery.”
Commissioning the equipment, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, described the 120 Watts Laser equipment as one of the most advanced technologies in surgery and commended the hospital for bringing such development to Nigeria and indeed Africa.
Represented by the Chief Medical Director, National Hospital, Dr. Jafaru Momoh, he called on other hospitals to incorporate advanced technologies in their medical practice to enable the country reduce the huge losses to medical tourism.
He also commended Surgical Aid Foundation (SAF) for partnering with Kelina Hospital to offset surgical bills worth over N50 million for 70 patients .
Consultant Urologist at the Kelina Hospital, Dr. Celsus Undie, said that the new equipment was procured to give Nigerians access to world-class medical treatment, adding that the hospital was the first to acquire it in Africa, and that it is less complicated and cost effective.