To reverse the rising trend of medical tourism to foreign countries, the Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday, July 11, has disclosed it would set up cancer care centres in its tertiary institutions around the country.
Hence it seek support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Africa and other development partners to actualise the plan to curb medical tourism outside the country.
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During the meeting with WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, solicited for aid from WHO towards mobilizing resources for revitalization of primary healthcare towards attaining a universal healthcare coverage monitoring and evaluation.
This include routine surveillance; technical support for national public health observatory; to mobilise resources for the Regional Centre for Disease Control, and to utilise Nigerian manpower in any WHO assignment in Africa.
The minister of health said Nigeria is currently reviewing its strategic plans for health and hopes to soon launch a new National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP) to cover 2016 – 2020.
He said that focus would now be on results and outcome with increased accountability structures and focus on universal health coverage.
Speaking earlier, Moeti, who pledged support for Nigeria’s efforts towards revolutionalising primary healthcare, expressed optimism that Nigeria would make it to become polio free by July 24, 2017.
According to her:
“It has been encouraging for me to learn about your strong focus on primary healthcare and universal health coverage. This is our number one primary priority in WHO. I wish to assure you of our firm support from WHO to make sure that you realise this ambitious agenda. I assure you of our firm support. I am extremely excited that we are on the same page with primary healthcare.
“We commend this initiative and will be listening to what you need from the WHO in terms of advocacy, in technical advice and support, in terms of sharing the experience of other countries which can support in doing this work. We believe so much in this and we will try to push with our health systems colleagues.”
Moeti therefore congratulated Nigeria for evacuating from the list of polio endemic countries, expressing optimism that the structures built would be put to use in building a viable disease surveillance system for the nation against medical tourism abroad.
The WHO director added that the organisation acknowledged that the polio capacity and infrastructure in Nigeria is contributing well beyond the work of polio eradication.
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Dr. Moeti was in Nigeria in October 2015 to present the official communication from the director-general of WHO on the removal of Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries. She arrived in Nigeria yesterday, July 11, on a three days visit on the invitation of the federal government.