Medical tourism: Any hope for ordinary Nigerians?

The recent medical tourism by President Muhammadu Buhari to London has generated lot of uproar across the country, many people are criticising the trip saying the president is not a patriotic citizen as he claims in several events.

After meeting with the service chiefs, President Buhari surprised Nigerians with the announcement on his medical trip to London. This is indeed very unfortunate as the populace already lost hope in the nation’s health sector.

Though it is not the first time, the trip surprised Nigerians who thought that the president would stay in Nigeria and receive medical treatment after the huge budget on health sector of the country.

According to media report, the Association of Nigerian Doctors is threatening to embark on strike, but the president paid no attention to that and flew to London. It is not constitutionally wrong to travel out of the country for medical reasons but what the president is supposed to consider is that staying in Nigeria to receive his treatment would give hope to the citizens on the standard of their health sector.

This issue actively generated conversation, not just on the status of the nation’s healthcare system but also how our political leaders flew abroad for medical treatments.

The decay of the nation’s health sector is scandalous, Nigerians see the president as a solution to the nation’s problems but unfortunately this is not the case. Nonetheless, we all know the problems we are facing in the country where people are suffering from unprecedented hunger, insecurity, etc.

The nagging questions are, who will bring succour to the country’s health sector as the president himself lacks confidence in the system? Does it mean Nigerian health facilities belong only to the ordinary Nigerians because of poor standard or what? If this is the case, there is no sanity in the system at all.

Also, what surprises Nigerians the most is how the president failed to fulfill his campaign promises, which is to ban medical tourism in the country; this is so unfortunate that our hospitals are in dilapidated condition.

He assured Nigerians of having well equipped and standard health care facilities if elected, now that he runs abroad for medical tourism then what else good will be expected of him regarding the nation’s health facility?

The ubiquitous malady COVID-19 pandemic taught us an unprecedented lesson, where every country was struggling to protect its inhabitants.

But here in Nigeria, the case is completely different where top-notch politicians are always going abroad for medical check-ups. This shows that nobody can predict the future of Nigeria as a country.

It’s high time we woke up from our deep slumber and bring about the much-desired development for the betterment of our country.

Bashir Babagana Mustapha,

Department of Mass Communication,

University of Maiduguri

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