The Chief Medical Director, Eko Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Olusegun Odukoya, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to commit more funds to the training of health specialists.According to Odukoya, such an investment will help check medical tourism and mortality rate in the country.
He made the appeal following the accreditation of the hospital to run a postgraduate fellowship programme in obstetrics and gynaecology by the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria and the West Africa College of Physicians.
Odukoya said, “How did the authorities spend the N150bn education fund? These funds are part of what we need to channel into the training of specialists, who will in turn cater to the health needs of the citizens.
“The Buhari administration has to take the lead in funding and ensuring that there are facilities for postgraduate medical training colleges. We do not have any subvention from the government but it will be appropriate for this administration to look into this.”
On medical infrastructure, Odukoya called on the government to reduce tariff on imported medical equipment.
He added, “We should learn from India which is now the hub of medical tourism. What its government did was to bring the importation of any medical equipment to three per cent. The government took this decision to allow doctors and investors to bring in modern equipment into the country.
“That is why people are now rushing to India for treatment because their hospitals boast modern equipment and facilities which specialists require.
“For medical equipment we import to Nigeria, we pay a huge amount to the Customs. Why can’t the government bring it down to either zero or minimal digit level?”
To support medical training, Odukoya said the hospital had trained over 15 fellows, just as it currently has 16 resident doctors undergoing further training.
He noted, “Supporting the postgraduate medical programme is of paramount importance and the hospital will continue to do so because we see it as contributing our quota to the development of health care in the country.”