The Federal Government on Monday said that one of the major focuses of the N51 billion being proposed for health infrastructure development in the 2017 budget is to end medical tourism.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole who in Abuja hinted that N12 billion has also been earmarked to decongest national hospitals and other tertiary teaching hospitals in the country.
He said part of the money would be dedicated to implementing new National Health Policy with focus on strengthening primary healthcare centres and encouraging states to strengthen secondary healthcare centres.
According to him, the ministry planned to leverage and partner with private sector to get more funding for the sector, especially in development of tertiary teaching hospitals.
He said, “In the last 12 months, we have seen the rehabilitation of close to 3,000 primary healthcare centres. This was done from both internal funding and funding from development partners.
“In 2017, we intend to continue to support primary care. In addition to this, we intend to take more people away from tertiary hospitals.
“Many Nigerians go to tertiary hospitals for any kind of ailment, be it headache, fever, diarrhea they go to national hospitals. That is not where they ought to go.
“They should go to the primary healthcare facility close to them. So we will de-congest the tertiary hospitals so that they can attend to serious cases such as cancer, heart disease among others.”
The health minister stressed that the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority would help pull more money from the private sector so that the sector would grow the N12bn.
“The N12bn is not up to what we need; but with the private sector, we can achieve our goals for the year.
“We have the human resources; we just need to upgrade the facility and give doctors space to achieve specialization.”
Adewole said with the plans implemented, Nigeria would stop losing money to medical tourism which is one of focus of the Federal Government in 2017.
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