‘Many patients seeking treatment abroad die in transit’ – Dr Coker

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The Chief of Surgery, Lagoon Hospitals, Dr Jimi Coker, has said that a third of patients that travel abroad for medical services, especially in cases of emergency, die in transit.

Coker, who spoke on the impact of medical tourism on the country during a panel discussion at the Healthcare Stakeholders Conference 2017 in Lagos, said it was high time Nigerians looked inward for their medical needs.

According to him, access to medical services during emergency is the most important and Nigeria has facilities that could provide such services.

Coker also called on government at all levels to urgently improve the welfare of doctors and their conditions of service so as to discourage them from taking juicy offers from foreign hospitals.

Stakeholders at the conference also called for a holistic approach to tackling the challenges facing the nation’s health care sector.

They identified inadequate funding and gaps in capacity building, poor health insurance uptake, disease burden, weak health care system, among others, as factors delaying growth in the sector.

The Founder and Chief Medical Director, Outreach Medical, Dr. Efunbo Dosekun, stressed the need for an Information Communication Technology-based approach to enhancing patients’ care and health outcomes.

In his presentation titled, ‘Providing Healthcare Insurance for Lower Income Groups: A Global Perspective’, a Senior Life and Heath Client Relationship Manager, Africa Swiss Re, Mr Bode Olajumoke, said there was the need for stakeholders to increase funding.

Olajumoke said, “The current trajectory of investment in health care sector is not sufficient to support the current population of Nigeria and it is at best mundane in its aspirations to support the future national healthcare needs.

Speaking on the need to increase the medical personnel, family physician, Dr. Ajike Oladoyin , warned that if nothing was done to woo health workers, only 99,120 of doctors and 333,494 nurses would be available by 2030, implying a shortage of about 50,120 doctors and 137,859 nurses.

She also called on her colleagues to increase awareness on medical services available locally before making referrals for patients to seek treatment abroad.

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