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Medical tourism to India is a racket, says Nigerian health minister

Abuja: Health Minister Dr Isaac Adewole has said medical tourism to India is a racket (a service fraudulently offered to solve a problem) and the country loses billions of naira yearly due to the fraud and that to discourage medical tourism, the government plans to begin advertisement of skills and facilities available in Nigeria.

Dr Isaac Adewole
Dr Isaac Adewole

“I sat down as a minister and the first thing is I kept on getting these request of people who want to travel out and to me is like a racket. It is framed between N9 million and N11 million, it is not one million not two million. I may look at some and say something must be wrong somewhere, some of the referrals are written by senior registrars on behalf of consultants.

“Later on I got to know that when you send four cases to India, they give you the money of the fifth one, so it is a racket and we must stop it. Thereafter I decided I would only approve if it was written by a consultant and endorsed by chief medical director saying, ‘there is no facility to handle it in the country’,” Dr Adewole has been quoted by The Guardian as saying.

Dr Adewole, who is also a professor of gynaecology and obstetrics, decried a situation where there is a great burden on teaching hospitals because even people with diarrhoea that can be treated at the primary health care centres (PHCs) still besiege the highest level of care.

He said only 20 per cent of the 30,000 PHCs are functional and only five per cent of rural women deliver under supervised care. To address the situation, the minister said the federal government plans to revitalize seven teaching hospitals and 10,000 PHCs in 2017.

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