Despite the fact that health facilities in Nigeria including health professionals and medical equipment are grossly inadequate, Senator Rochas Okorocha says health facilities in Rivers State can assist the country to cut back on the $1.00 billion squandered annually on medical tourism.
Okorocha is describing Rivers State Government House Clinic as a top class health facility that can provide quality health service most people seek abroad.
Though the health care system in the country is a blend of both public and private players, mass exodus of Nigerians abroad for treatment is quite troubling to the economy.
In 2013, Nigerians spent $1.00 billion on foreign medical trips for the treatment of various forms of illness in different countries abroad which BBC says have been expended on the development of the country’s health care system which in turn would have had a multiplier effect on the development of the country at large.
While Nigeria is busy losing millions of dollars to medical tourism, other countries of the world are busy gaining from such cash fly. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers (2016) report, Nigerians spend $1.00 billion annually on medical tourism with 60% of it on four key specialties namely: oncology, orthopedics, nephrology and cardiology.
This is nearly 20% of the total government spending on public health sector for the year including salaries of all public sector doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers as well as other health programmes like malaria, tuberculosis, polio and HIV/AIDS prevention as total government expenditure on health sector for the year 2015 which stood at $5.85 billion.
Speaking shortly after his host, Governor Nyesom Wike conducted him round on-going projects within the Government House precinct, Senator Okorocha commended the governor’s audacity for the quality of projects he has persistently demonstrated.
He observed that the facility is a typical German standard hospital with latest health equipment that can address critical health challenges, and located in a serene environment.
“This can only be seen here. It is a top class hospital, the kind you can find abroad. It is a typical German standard hospital with the equipment that I have seen here. Hospitals are determined by the equipment they carry. All the latest equipment that take you abroad are all here.
“Nigerians should take advantage of this place rather than spending millions travelling abroad. I commend Governor Wike for job well done”, Senator Okorocha, who represents Imo West Senatorial District in the Senate said.
He was however, in Rivers as a guest of Governor Wike to inaugurate Rumuche/Rumuakunde/Ohna Awuse Link Road in Emohua Local Government Area of the state.