FG moves to ban foreign medical trips for public servants


Worried by the increasing number of public servants seeking medical treatment abroad, the Federal Government has said it is determined to reverse the trend.

President Goodluck Jonathan dropped the hint while speaking at the 36th Annual General Meeting and International Scientific Conference of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria, AGPMPN, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, yesterday.

The president, who said medical tourism is one of the inevitable fallouts of globalisation that has transformed the world into a global village, however, lamented that it is being misconstrued by many Nigerians.

Represented by the Minister of Health, Prof. Chukwu Onyebuchi, Jonathan identified lack of information about locations of where services might be accessed as one of the reasons for the misconception.

He said a directive had been given to the Minister of Health to ask the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to come up with new guidelines for publication of ethically acceptable information about public and private health facilities across the country.

While commending the association for the courage so far exhibited in health entrepreneurship, he charged participants at the conference to exploit “the numerous incentives on offer by government and adopt new business methods that would upgrade and reposition your practices for high-end diagnosis and therapeutic services.”

He stated that the relevant agencies of government, including the federal ministries of health and trade and investment, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Tony-Elumelu- led Ministerial Committee on Private Health Sector Engagement would provide guidance for the association.

Earlier, Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, said the Niger Delta was at the centre of environmental problems, calling on the participants at the conference to come up with ideas that would better the lots of people in the region.

Lamenting the environmental issues in the region, he said the state government had put in place measures to mitigate the effect of oil and gas exploration on the people of the state.

“The Rivers State government is paying emphasis on primary health care. That is why the governor, Chibuike Amaechi, has insisted on free healthcare programme, malaria elimination and the HIV/AIDS programme,” he said.

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