Nigerians spend $1.5bn on medical tourism annually -Peter Obi

Former Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has said Nigeria has one of the highest infant mortality rate, with life expectancy at 56 years, making it among the lowest in the world.

He added that Nigerians spend over $1.5billion on medical tourism annually, and it the sum is  retained in the economy, it would have impacted positively on the nation.

He also called for aggressive investment in the health sector.

Obi on his X handle on Sunday, said: “I join the global community in commemorating World Health Day today. Health remains critical to human development.

“As one of the critical measures of the human development index, health contributes immeasurably to the development of the human person and the progress of the nation.

“Our obvious neglect of our health sector, especially the primary health sector has continued to result in so many unpleasant outcomes for the nation.

“With Nigeria ranking 14th out of the 18 African countries with poor health systems and also ranking 157th out of the 167 countries measured on health systems, we need to invest more aggressively in the health sector.

“Nigeria’s poor investment in the health sector has continued to manifest in many ways.
“We are today, among the countries with the highest infant mortality rates. The current life expectancy in Nigeria is 56 years, obviously among the lowest in the world.

“Healthcare in Nigeria is increasingly becoming out of the reach of most Nigerians due to its high cost.

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“Our budget of N1.3 trillion for the health sector, in a country of about 218 million people, is still not enough to make a serious impact in the sector and still falls below the 15 per cent commitment specified in the 2001 Abuja Declaration.

“With the continual decline in our health sector, we need to make more aggressive investments that will improve the lives of the people.

“Aside the negative impacts on the citizens of our lack of investment in the health sector, the attendant capital flight arising from health tourism remains worrisome.

“It is reported that Nigerians spend over $1.5bn on medical tourism annually. Such a volume of funds, if retained in our economy would have impacted positively on the nation and helped us to save the much-needed foreign exchange.

“This day, therefore, presents us, the leaders, with another opportunity to reflect on our vision and prioritise investment in the very critical areas of human development for the ultimate good and development of the nation.

“The resources wasted on frivolities and unnecessary expenditure should now be invested in health, education and pulling people out of poverty.

“Our vision in New Nigeria is to build a healthy and productive nation, and it is possible,” he added.

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