President Buhari Disdains Nigerian Medical Experts for Patronizing British Hospitals
The protracted medical trip of Nigeria President Munammadu Buhari is the latest in the list of African leaders that have traveled oversea for medical treatment.
The 74 years old Buhari, recently from his medical recreation base, posted photographs of himself having meeting with Nigerian officials in London to prove he is still alive following the rumour that he is dead. He posted on twitter that he was “grateful to Nigerians, Christians and Muslims alike, for their prayers and kind wishes for my health”.
African presidents, political office holders and top government officials have it as tradition disdaining their own health services and experts in favour of overseas medical trips.
Nigerian government officials initially announced that the trip of the president is going to be a short holiday that would include “routine medical test”. Now, the trip has been prolonged indefinitely, yet no details on the health of President Muhammadu Buhari have been released.
You will recall that Buhari was in London last year June for ear infection making it his second prolonged trip to United Kingdom. Nigerians, then, questioned why Buhari could not have his infected ear treated in Nigeria by the local medical experts and with medical facilities like the one in State House Clinic, AbujaThe State House Clinic, Abuja which is adjudged to be the best hospital in Nigeria, was giving face-lift in 2016 at a cost of $16 million. The fund is more than the total capital budget for Nigeria’s 16 federal government teaching hospitals. The State House Hospital provides health care for the president, vice president, their families and staff.
Decision of Muhammadu Buhari to consult British doctors instead of Nigerian medical professionals angered many Nigerians, most especially after he promised in 2016 to clamp down on medical tourism/trip by Nigerian elites.
Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) reported that rich and influential Nigerians spend around $1 billion per year on medical trips abroad. NMA also said that local specialist would have been capable of treating the ear infection problem Buhari took to London.
So if Buhari cannot trust and rely on Nigeria best-funded State House Clinic he upgraded last year with $16 million, then what is the hope of ordinary Nigerians who seek medical treatment at ill-equipped and poorly-funded hospitals where doctor-to-patient ratio is 1 to 2500.
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