Medical tourism solution to brain drain, healthcare challenges in Nigeria – Convener

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Lagos.

Dr Usman Isah, the Convener, All Africa Medical and Wellness Expo (AMWE), has identified Domestic Medical Tourism as the solution to brain drain and other challenges of the Nigerian health system.

Isah, also a Medical Tourism Specialist, made this known at a media chat via Zoom heralding the AMWE 2023 event on Saturday in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event will have the theme: “Developing Sustainable Domestic Medical Tourism for Nigeria’s Health Sector.”

According to him, the AMWE 2023, scheduled to hold on Oct. 4 and 5, 2023 at the Nicon Luxury Hotel Abuja, is poised to make a lasting impact on the trajectory of healthcare and wellness in Nigeria and the broader African region.

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

He expressed concerns about the misconceptions Nigerians have about medical tourism, saying there was need for reorientation of their mindsets.

Isah defined medical tourism as the act of travelling from one location to another in search of quality medical treatment, which does not necessarily entail traveling to abroad.

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

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

“The All Africa Medical and Wellness Expo is a comprehensive roadmap toward the development of Domestic Medical Tourism in Nigeria, catalyzing the growth and excellence of the Healthcare sector.

‘’A thriving healthcare sector that draws not only local citizens but also international tourists can serve as a stronghold for retaining our medical experts.

“As it offers visitors the opportunity to experience our medical expertise while exploring the diverse attractions found in the regions where these exceptional healthcare facilities are located,” he said.

Isah painted a vivid picture of Nigeria as a hub for Medical Tourists, where world-class facilities in cities such as Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and across the nation beckon visitors seeking top-notch healthcare.

Speaking on the benefits of the project, Isah said that introducing domestic medical tourism would not only curb the problem of brain drain, but would also increase access to quality healthcare, create job opportunities, increase health investments and address other challenges of the health system.

He decried that the Nigerian health system lacked trust, saying that domestic medical tourism remain a viable means to restore trust in the nation’s health system.

He urged the private sector to identify and explore the various opportunities in the medical sector.

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

The Covener called on the Federal Government to create the enabling environment for businesses in the health sector to thrive.

“A thriving business health sector will go a long way fostering healthy completion in the sector and in turn enhancing the growth and development of medical tourism in the country.

‘’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,” Isah said.

He also urged stakeholders in the health and medical sectors to take advantage of the immense opportunities that comes with the All Africa Medical and Wellness Expo 2023 to drive growth and development within both sectors.

The Expo would host a remarkable lineup of speakers, including luminaries such as Dr Adeyemi Johnson, Nigerian Cardiologist;  Dr Zainab Suleiman, as Keynote Speaker; Mrs Susan Akporiaye and a host of others within and outside Nigeria. (NAN)

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