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Nigerians expended $1bn on medical tourism in 2008- Finance minister

Nigerians expended $1billion on medical tourism in 2008, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed. The amount, she said went into seeking treatments in four areas of healthcare, namely; oncology, cardio-vascular, nephrology and orthopaedic medicine .

The minister spoke in Abuja at a meeting with the team of Nigerian Ambassador to Egypt and representatives of Saudi- German Hospital (SGH) in Cairo, after a previous meeting with government of Kaduna State on healthcare management and operations. This is according to a statement by her Media Assistant, Mallam Tanko Yunusa Abdullahi. However, she said the trend had changed with investment in health sector by federal government’s Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). On the state of Nigerian healthcare, Ahmed said: “We are compelled to travel outside our shores for healthcare due to the dearth in professional healthcare facilities and management in Nigeria. This means that we have the capacity to pay for quality healthcare anywhere.

“Why can we not bring these facilities to Nigeria, by government introducing deliberate policies backed by funding, to attract similar healthcare service providers to Nigeria.’’ She told the team that Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) on behalf of the federal government is investing in these areas through collaboration with the Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres across the country. “So far, through the NSIA, we have established three specialist centres in Kano, Lagos and Umuahia. While the NSIA Managing Director, Dr. Uche Orji, explained various interventions of the agency in heath infrastructure in Nigeria. Orji hinted that the agency has commenced construction of an advanced medical centre in Abuja while plans had been concluded for three more oncology centres and 23 diagnostic centres.

 

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