There have been many questions , a majority of which are centred around the question What are the reasons for medical tourism in Nigeria? Medical tourism in Nigeria is growing at an exponential rate in the last few years. This growth of medical tourism in Nigeria can be attributed directly to the healthcare sector of Nigeria. The healthcare of Nigeria was in a precarious state and patients were forced to seek treatment abroad. This outward treatment abroad led to serious foreign exchange drain of over $2 billion dollars annually. There have been many critics of medical tourism in Nigeria. Bulk of whom are from the medical industry comprising of doctors, medical professionals and healthcare providers. The reasoning being that not only is medical tourism in Nigeria is a huge drain on the country’s foreign exchange but also the doctors in Nigeria are denied a chance to treat and understand complex cases.
But on the flip side medical tourism in Nigeria has given a chance to Nigeria’s healthcare sector to reform and benefit from the availability of resources due to medical tourism.
Medical tourism in Nigeria has led to influx of international hospitals particularly from India who are looking to set up multi speciality hospitals to cater to the ever increasing patient queue. When an international hospital comes and sets up a base with it comes the technical know how, which Nigeria requires badly. The international hospitals bring with them advance medical technologies, operational expertise and a chance for the Nigerian medical community to interact and work alongside the international medical community. In such an arrangement both the Nigerians and the international hospitals benefit.
Also the recent push on CME ( Continuing Medical Education) programs has been greatly due to medical tourism in Nigeria. Doctors are encouraged and assisted with attending CME programs in top hospitals around the world. This gives the Nigerian doctors a chance to upgrade their skills and use them back home.
Lastly, medical tourism in Nigeria has given birth to the concept of health check up camps. These camps are organized by international hospitals who regularly do them in different parts of Nigeria. Top doctors from around the world visit these camps. Firstly, such camps gives the local patient access to international healthcare. Secondly, the local doctors also get a chance to interact with their international counterparts. They get to learn the best practices and also understand new procedures and techniques.
From these above examples and instances we can see that medical tourism in Nigeria has actually been beneficial to the Nigerian healthcare sector. Without medical tourism in Nigeria it would had been difficult for Nigeria to attract international hospitals and doctors in such a short span. In a few decades we will see a reverse trend where patients from other parts of Africa will start travelling to Nigeria for treatment. Hence, medical tourism in Nigeria should be looked upon with admiration and it’s role in transforming Nigerian healthcare should be appreciated.