Nigeria spends $2bn annually on medical tourism -Peter Obi

Former Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has raised the alarm that Nigeria spends about $2 billion annually on medical tourism due to poor health healthcare system in the country.

The Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate in the February 25, 2023, poll, also called for adequate investement in the country’s health sector, to reverse the trend and give more Nigerians access to healthcare.

Obi on Sunday, said: “As the global community marks World Cancer Day, today, I add my voice to urge that more investment be made in our health sector with adequate attention given to our healthcare facilities to aid the provision of decent healthcare in the country.

“Cancer, though a dangerous disease, has been empirically established that its effects on society can be controlled drastically if adequate healthcare is put in place to encourage early detection and adequate cure and care.

“In many countries that prioritise the health of their citizens, cancer is no longer a death sentence, especially when it is detected early, with the help of modern healthcare facilities and well-trained healthcare professionals.

“The National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment reported that Nigeria records over 120,000 new cancer cases yearly, leading to thousands of deaths.

“With the provision of adequate healthcare in the country, these numbers can be drastically reduced and many cancer-related cases can be adequately managed.

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“Sadly, in seeking solutions to their medical challenges, many Nigerians have taken to medical tourism.

“A study by Pfizer-established research institute, Kano Independent Research Centre Trust, KIRCT, showed that Nigerians spend between $1.5 billion to $2 billion annually on medical tourism.

“Such a huge amount, if additionally invested in our health sector, will save many lives and give more Nigerians access to healthcare.

“This day provides us the leaders an opportunity to soberly reflect on the need to prioritise our health sector, which remains a very critical contributor to national development.

“And for us the people, managing some risk factors and lifestyle choices like taking a healthy diet, physical exercise, and many more, can lower one’s chances of developing cancer.

“May we continue to work towards a cancer-free society as we continue to prioritize our healthcare and contribute to the growth of our nation,” he added.

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