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How FG plans to end N500 billion annual medical tourism – Lai Mohammed

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Lai Mohammad

The Federal Government has stated that CBN’s N200 billion Healthcare Sector Intervention Fund and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority’s investment in private and public healthcare is beneficial towards reducing N500 billion healthcare tourism by Nigerians.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed at a media tour of Duchess International Hospital, a 100-bed modern health facility constructed through the funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Industry (BoI).

The Minister stated that funding from the FG into private healthcare will also make Nigeria a location for global medical tourists.

What the Minister is saying

Lai Mohammed revealed that  with more world class healthcare facilities like Duchess Hospital coming on stream, Nigeria is set become a destination for medical tourists, adding that Nigeria will welcome foreign patients and medical personnel on its shores rather than having its citizens travel yearly and spending more than N500 billion for medical tourism.

He said, “We as a country will also conserve our foreign reserves while earning foreign exchange, we will begin to reverse the brain drain in the health sector; create jobs and provide affordable and standard healthcare for our people.

“Of course, facilities like Duchess International are veritable tools for job creation, in addition to attracting medical tourists from across the world.

“Its a new dawn for the health sector and we are proud of what Duchess and other healthcare facilities are doing in bringing about this new dawn.

He stated that the facility was private-sector driven, citing that the  Federal Government provided the enabling environment and funding for its realization, through the launch of the CBN’s N100 billion Healthcare Sector Intervention Fund, which was later expanded to N200 billion to provide credit support for the healthcare sector through long-term, low-cost financing.

  • “You are also aware of the Federal Government’s Intervention in the Healthcare Sector through the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
  • “The NSIA has invested a total of 22.5 million dollars in two diagnostic centres in Kano and Umuahia (5.5 million dollars each) and the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre in Lagos (11.5 million dollars). The NSIA is also committed to building a new quaternary hospital in Abuja.
  • “The essence of these financial interventions and projects in the critical healthcare sector is to fast-track the evolvement of world class healthcare facilities like this Duchess International Hospital.
  • “With what we have seen here today, Nigerians can now get access to affordable and world class treatment in whatever is ailing them in many areas.
  • “This includes emergency medicine, women’s health, paediatric care, cardiovascular medicine, kidney dialysis, dental treatment, and eye care among others,’’ he said.

What you should know

  • Nairametrics reported on November 2020 that the Nigeria Exports Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) said it is considering setting up 15 Medical Free zones in at least 15 states of the federation, not minding the torrential pressures from the State governments lobbying to skew the location of the novel Medical Free Zones to their own states.
  • NEPZA said the project is critically important as it would save about $1billion expended on medical tourism annually by Nigerians.