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More importantly, ‘Baba’ Buhari should lead by example by using our local hospitals whenever he takes ill, like Jose Mujica of Uruguay (although, I wish him good health). If Nigeria’s economy must stop losing N250bn annually on medical tourism – as claimed by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) – then our health sector needs urgent attention. Likewise, we must insist that anyone seeking elective position should perish the thought of traveling abroad for medical treatment once he/she is elected. Perhaps, when their lives are in jeopardy due to our poor healthcare system, they would be forced to make laws, formulate and implement policies that would bring about the needed positive turn around in our health sector.

The news that former vice-president, Namadi Sambo, travelled abroad for a knee surgery should not come to many Nigerians as a surprise, except those who are gullible enough to believe that the Goodluck/Sambo’s administration had transformed our heath sector.

Ironically, the same Sambo, in 2012, while commissioning the Advanced Medical Diagnostic Centre, Ilorin, Kwara State, said: “Having put this centre in place, I am confident that the outflow of Nigerians and national resources frittered to seek such services from other countries of the world will become a thing of the past”.

Today, he lacks the confidence to go under the knife in one of our ‘transformed’ hospitals in Nigeria. But,why?

We recall that before the news of Sambo’s trip abroad for his knee surgery broke, a serving Senator and former governor of Awka Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, who was touted for ‘uncommon transformation’ during his administration was flown abroad after he had an accident in Abuja. In the same vein, a few days ago, Oscar M. Onwudiwe, a lawyer acting for the family of our former petroleum minister, Deziani Allison Madueke, disclosed that she had been receiving treatment for cancer in the United Kingdom since she became minister.

The bad news got worse when former governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, passed away at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. According to the incumbent governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, “Alamieyeseigha died because he was harassed and forced to abandon his medical care abroad.” By implication, he simply meant that Alamieyeseigha died, because, in all of Nigeria, there is no hospital good enough to handle his case, even though a number of prominent Nigerians had died in the foreign hospitals in the past.

I must state here, clearly, that I am in no way mocking anyone of these persons. However, the deceit behind that ‘transformation agenda’ of the immediate past administration in our health sector comes to mind, considering the fact that they were active members or loyalists of same.

Today, the lies of a ‘transformation agenda’ that gave Nigerians the ‘best health sector’ in the world is now defeated by the single fact that Sambo flew abroad for a knee surgery. A knee surgery. However, while we wish him quick recovery, we hope in the future we will not read in the news that our incumbent President or his vice travelled abroad to treat catarrh after they leave office.

It also gives Nigerians some insight into the calibre of people who embark on medical tourism in Nigeria. Of course, it would not be hyperbolical to assume that each time one of these folks jets abroad for treatment, there are thousands of poor impoverished Nigerians who travelled to the world beyond, due to the lack of good healthcare that the ruling class was obligated to provide.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria is second on the world’s under-five and maternal mortality ranking that loses about 2,300 under-five-year-olds and 145 women of child-bearing. WHO also reported that Nigeria has the worst incidence in the world cancer death ratio of 4 in 5 cases, with 80,000 thousand Nigerians dying from cancer annually. These are not fabricated facts purposed to scare anybody.

Sadly, this ugly trend might still continue if the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari fails to revamp our health sector by providing standard infrastructural and medical equipment, upgrade hospitals and make medicine as a profession more attractive to check the brain-drain effect that has made close to 40,000 Nigerian doctors opt to practice abroad. It is also important to encourage young Nigerians to study medicine through scholarship aimed at grooming more doctors, if the trend of one doctor to 6,400 patients in Nigeria must end.

More importantly, ‘Baba’ Buhari should lead by example by using our local hospitals whenever he takes ill, like Jose Mujica of Uruguay (although, I wish him good health). If Nigeria’s economy must stop losing N250bn annually on medical tourism – as claimed by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) – then our health sector needs urgent attention. Likewise, we must insist that anyone seeking elective position should perish the thought of traveling abroad for medical treatment once he/she is elected. Perhaps, when their lives are in jeopardy due to our poor healthcare system, they would be forced to make laws, formulate and implement policies that would bring about the needed positive turn around in our health sector.

Today, the lies of a ‘transformation agenda’ that gave Nigerians the ‘best health sector’ in the world is now defeated by the single fact that Sambo flew abroad for a knee surgery. A knee surgery. However, while we wish him quick recovery, we hope in the future we will not read in the news that our incumbent President or his vice travelled abroad to treat catarrh after they leave office.

Just saying.

That would tell if we made a change or not.

Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from Abuja and can be reached on ahmedoluwasanjo@gmail.com