Femi Adesina, Spokesperson to Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari announced that he (the president) will be travelling to the United Kingdom today, March 30th, 2021 for medical checkup.
The president has come under fierce criticisms for his taste for health needs abroad. A major critic of his taste for foreign travels is, Dr Osahon Enabulele, first Nigerian to head the Commonwealth Medical Association.
He holds the view that, the President’s foreign travel is a “national shame.” This according to him is due to the fact that prior to one of his trips, Nigeria had capacity to provide the service he needed. He added that, at the time he (President Buhari) traveled, the country had a National Ear Center, a total of 250 ear, nose and throat specialists.
Dr. added further that, the UK which the President routinely travel to has more than 3,000 Nigerian-trained doctors, whilst there are over 5,000 in the US. Nigeria is one of the countries that produces the best medical doctors but loses majority of them to brain drain due to unfavorable working conditions.
The issue of medical tourism is one which has affected the African continent as a whole for quite a long time now; the frequency with which African politicians travel abroad for treatment is becoming alarming.
Many of these political figures/leaders preside over countries with poor and ill-resourced health facilities coupled with bad working conditions for health workers. Due to this, most of them have lost trust in the very system they have created and rather take pride in seeking health needs abroad at the detriment of the masses.
The question we are asking is: should medical tourism be banned for all African politicians until they drive policies to develop their respective health sectors?