Expert urges FG to create enabling environment for domestic medical tourism to thrive

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Lagos.

Dr Usman Isah, Convener, All Africa Medical and Wellness Expo (AMWE), on Saturday urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for domestic medical tourism to thrive in the country.

Isah, who made the call during a zoom media chat said that Nigeria continues to lose huge amount of money to medical tourism, which has  succeeded in boosting other nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

He said it was high time the federal government began  to view medical tourism from the perspectives of profit-making and non-profit making angles.

According to him, it is  also important to foster private sector participation in healthcare development to spur investments.

He said Nigeria remains  a hub for medical tourists where world-class facilities in cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and more beckon on visitors seeking top-notch healthcare.

“Nigeria is doing a lot wrong in the drive to get medical tourism right. A strong policy on domestic tourism and incentive for quality patient management will go a long way for the sector.

“We are not doing business in the health sector but our medical bills are always high. Many Nigerians cannot afford quality medical care and many countries have ensured absolute access to medical care.

“We must get it right in Nigeria. We must upgrade the standard of care in our hospitals to be able to woo tourists to Nigeria.

“Nigeria can only get it right in developing sustainable domestic medical tourism when investors are attracted to the nation. Investors are not coming because they have observed that Nigeria is looking at healthcare solely as a profit making venture,” he said.

Isah described medical tourism as an aspect of the economy that could help drive healthcare development in Nigeria.

According to him, if the private sector can see the medical sector as one with opportunities for investment, it will go a long way in enhancing development in healthcare as well as domestic tourism in Nigeria.

He said to further educate Nigerians and government on the essence of developing a sustainable domestic medical tourism, he has organised the 2023 edition of AMWE, scheduled to hold on Oct. 4 and 5, at the Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja.

He noted that the theme for the programme will be “Developing Sustainable Domestic Medical Tourism for Nigeria’s Health Sector”.

According to him, the expo will be a comprehensive roadmap toward the development of domestic medical tourism in Nigeria, catalysing the growth and excellence of the healthcare sector.

He also urged stakeholders in the country’s health sector to take advantage of the immense opportunities that comes with AMWE 2023, set to drive growth and development within both sectors.

“2023 AMWE is poised to make a lasting impact on the trajectory of healthcare and wellness in Nigeria and the broader African region.

“The event is such that stakeholders, experts, and visionaries come together to shape the future of healthcare, medical tourism, and wellness in Nigeria and beyond.

‘”This vision extends to a healthcare system that shines as a beacon of excellence and a society where wellness is deeply ingrained,” he said.

Isah emphasised Nigeria’s abundant blessings, particularly its wealth of highly skilled medical professionals.

He said these professionals were invaluable assets to the nation, and their talents should not be at risk of the “Japa” syndrome—an exodus of talent seeking opportunities abroad.

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