A Medical Practitioner, Dr Sunny Ukachakwu, has urged the government to strengthen health subsidies and institutions so as to improve access to healthcare in the country.
Ukachukwu, who is the Medical Director of Primus International Specialty Hospital, Karu, some few kilometers from Abuja, the Nigerian Capital, gave the advice in an interview with the press in Abuja.
He said that Primary Health Care facilities across the country and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) were laudable programmes designed to improve access to healthcare.
He, however, said that that implementation of such programmes have not been effective.
“Quality medical care is expensive, but most advanced countries subsidise rates for their citizens.
In Nigeria we have the Primary Healthcare Facilities scattered across the country, the idea was to bring medical care close to every person.
There is also the NHIS; these are good initiatives, but implementation, management and corruption have been the stumbling blocks.
The amount of money Nigerians spend on medical tourism is enough to improve our health sector,’’ he said.
He advised government to take measures to cut down the rate at which Nigerians travel abroad for medical care by boosting the country’s health sector.
“We should device ways to identify people that genuinely need medical tourism; any ailment that can be handled in Nigeria should not be allowed to be taken abroad.
There are many private diagnostic centres and many hospitals in Nigeria that can handle most of the cases that are usually referred to foreign hospitals and we should encourage them,’’ he advised.