By Ugo Aliogo and Kehinde Lawal
The Nigerian-American Medical Foundation (NAMFI) has stated that with adequate financial support and willingness of medical professionals in the diaspora to return home and contribute their quota, the health sector can yield even four times the revenue generated by the hotel industry for the same amount of investment.
Speaking wednesday in Lagos at the 6th annual meeting of the NAMFI, with the theme: ‘New Advances in Diseases Diagnosis and Treatment Telemedicine,’ the NAMFI, Vice-Chairman, Dr. Adeyinka Shoroye, called for increased government focus and investment in the sector in order to drive medical tourism in the country.
He also stated that the country would achieve immense economic growth through the promotion of medical tourism, adding that the ‘NAMFI Clinic Foundation Hospital’ in Lagos would be unveiled by the foundation and the foundation will set up insurance fund for indigent patients to make healthcare more affordable.
He also stated that the foundation is soliciting for the commitment and support of partners in order to facilitate programme implementation in line with a joint plan of action to design highly specialized care centre in the country with the rising tide of medical tourism from the shores of the country.
“With proper financial support and willingness of medical professionals in the diaspora to return home and contribute their quota, the hospital sector can yield even four times the revenue generated by the hotel industry for the same amount of investment, thereby helping to diversify the economy and also making the country a center for medical tourism in Africa.”
At the meeting, it was noted that Nigeria could retain N500 billion naira, which according to statistics she loses yearly to medical tourism, if there is an aggressive development of infrastructure and human resource optimisation in the country.
According to Shoroye: “Within legal framework as a not-for-profit organisation, our current capital campaign model is now focused within the country on sustainable infrastructure development of the super-tertiary tier of Nigeria’s healthcare system with long-term engagement of the corporate private sector in the country. This include the reputable multinational corporations within the country particularly those who have been doing thriving business in Nigeria for a very long time.
“As a moral imperative, they are being encouraged to give something back to that soil that has made it possible for them to remain very profitable for many decades, for these good causes that will benefit all, within the laws of the land such as tax incentives in corporate giving and corporate social responsibility.”
In his keynote address, the former Nigeria Ambassador to United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, said the country has lost billions of naira to other countries due to medical tourism and government’s failure to give total focus implementation to the sector.
He called for an upgrade of the country’s medical facilities in order to meet international standards and reduce the number of Nigerians travelling to other countries to seek medical care.
He said the decision by Nigerian doctors in diaspora to come back home and support the country with standard health facilities was a fortune to the country’s health sector, adding that the country should give them the support and expertise they needed to deliver.
Also speaking at the event, the Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ogun State, Dr. Adewale olomu, who was represented by Dr. Olubiyi Adeshina, said one of the goals of NAMFI is to provide highest medical care in a personable environment to everyone in the country, especially the indigent and added that the specialist hospital would be a learning avenue to most doctors.
“The main goal of this foundation is to fill the vacuum of medical diagnostic tertiary care on the country soil, thereby improving disease diagnostic capabilities and patient care, it is purely a referral super-specialist tertiary consultation service, serving specialist and primary care physicians everywhere in Nigeria.”