Oyo - A Nigerian U.S-based cardiologist, Dr Kamar Adeleke, has said that influential Nigerians spend about $8 billion U.S. dollars annually on medical tourism.
Adeleke, who made this known in Ibadan on Tuesday, described as incredible the huge amount on foreign exchange being wasted on medical tourism by influential Nigerians.
He said that such funds should have been better deployed to the development of local health infrastructure and facilities.
Adeleke, who is the leader of a 50-member Free Health Mission from the U.S. to Ibadan, said his team was partnering with the Oyo State Government to further develop health infrastructure and facilities to boost healthcare delivery in the state.
``Most of the common ailments being diagnosed and treated by Free Health Mission included diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, fever, pneumonia, hernia, fibroid as well as varied degrees of eye problems.
``Our mission is also evaluating Oyo State Government’s health facilities to see what needs to be done to further help them and that is part of what we are doing.
``We are going to see how we can collaborate and upgrade the facilities by bringing more equipment.
``We will later bring more doctors, including ophthalmologists, dentists and general surgeons here for consulting services,” he said.
Adeleke, who is the Chief Cardiologist at St. Francis Hospital, Delaware, U.S.A., said the mission was invited at the instance of the wife of the state governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi.
He said that the team had brought about 50 cartons of various medicaments, notably multi-vitamins and anti-biotic for free distribution to patients.
While decrying the high rate at which influential Nigerians went abroad on medical tourism, Adeleke advised the government to create a conducive environment for local healthcare delivery.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, had told journalists that the five-day programme would be under-studied by the hospital’s management.
He said that the State Government was in the process of introducing a health insurance scheme.
``With the health insurance scheme, it means that anytime anybody falls sick, he goes to the hospital and does not need to pay anything. It will help our people greatly,” he said.
The commissioner commended the team for their contribution to humanity.