Reduce medical tourism, expert tells healthcare practitioners


The President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, Clare Omatseye, has charged medical practitioners to brace up to reduce medical tourism by improving healthcare delivery in the country.

Omatseye, who made the call in Abuja, at the 21st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), said Nigeria was losing billions of naira to medical tourism yearly.

The theme of the AGM was: ‘The future of private healthcare in Nigeria; equipping medical directors with leadership, management and quality improvement expertise and skills’.

She expressed displeasure at the quality of doctors produced today and urged them to be more innovative and creativity, noting that the country has lost many good hands to braindrain.

According to her, patients do not trust Nigerian doctors, as a result of a lack of adequate information on health services by practitioners as it is obtainable in other climes.

“Human resources are scarce in quality and quantity and it is sad that we have more Nigerian doctors in the UK than here in Nigeria because of brain drain.

The quality of doctors today is not encouraging compared to 20 years when there was no technology.

This is why Nigeria loses billions of naira to medical tourism yearly and this has to change to enable better healthcare delivery in the country,” she said.

Omatseye said many patients had lost confidence in Nigerian doctors, adding that they do not know how to access specific healthcare service due to the lack of information.

The Federation President, therefore, urged practitioners to leverage on the benefits of technology including the social media to sell themselves and inform people on the quality of care they provide.

Speaking on the topic “Role of the private healthcare provider in driving quality improvement,” a Lagos based physician and health policy consultant, Dr Mamsallah Faal-Omisore, emphasised the importance of adequate medical data gathering.

He explained that improvement can only be measured when there is adequate data.

In her address of welcome, the FCT Chairman of the GMD, Dr Chito Nwana, said the private health sector provides over 70 per cent of healthcare in Nigeria, saying that they are not seen as relevant.

“The private sector, therefore, is the catalyst for institutionalising quality health care in the country.

If properly harnessed, we can grow the health sector contribution to GDP.

The way we can emulate the position in other climes such as India and even Dubai,” she said.

The GMD is a national organisation that comprises of Medical Directors and owners of private medical facilities in the country.

The primary goals are to promote global best practices and advance the health sector.