Medical tourism in Nigeria: Challenges and remedies to health care system development
Medical tourism is fast becoming a culture among many Nigerians due to the deplorable state of the health care system in Nigeria. Every month, almost 5,000 people leave the country for various forms of treatment abroad when such treatment should have been carried out in Nigeria. About 1.2 billion dollars is lost to medical tourism yearly in Nigeria which could have been invested in the development of the country‟s health care system and the country as a whole. The World Health Organization recently ranked Nigeria 187 out of 191 countries in its ranking of the world‟s health systems above only three countries in the world while neighboring countries like Ghana, Togo, Niger, Mali, and Chad were ranked better than Nigeria. This paper therefore explores the remedies to the problem of medical tourism and development of health care system in Nigeria. The paper identified brain drain syndrome, underfunding, dilapidated structures and obsolete equipment, industrial strikes, culture of Nigerians preferring anything foreign and negative attitude of health professionals as problems facing the Nigerian health sector. Some of the remedies to the problem as suggested in the paper include: adequate funding of the system, improved health care facilities, better remuneration and motivation for health workers, government intervention on the battle for supremacy among health workers, immediate ban of government sponsored medical trip abroad, adequate training, enforcement of legal action against medical negligence, improved medical research and encouraging foreign investment.
Keywords: Industrial strike, Underfunding, Brain drain, Remuneration, Foreign investment.