A Lagos- based medical expert, Dr Dapo Soyinka, on Sunday called on government at all levels to pay more attention to healthcare services to reduce brain drain and medical tourism.
Soyinka, the Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer, Maternal and Child Centre (MCC), Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos State, made the call in an interview with the Newsmen in Lagos.
According to him, unless there is an improvement in the funding, infrastructure and welfare of health workers in the country, Nigerians will not get quality healthcare.
He added that poor health services and motivation for workers had been responsible for the exodus of Nigeria’s best brains in medical sector to developed climes for greeener pastures.
“If you look at the percentage of our budget that goes to health is still far below what WHO (World Health Organisation) recommended.
“In Nigeria, it is just about four per cent or less that was dedicated to health. As a nation, that is far from what stakeholders expect.
“I expect that any nation that is serious about health should be dedicating 10 per cent or more on health because health is wealth.
“We are really appealing to our political leaders to pay attention to health because healthy nation is a wealth nation. Funding is low and that is affecting the quality of health services.
“We are not surprised that many people are leaving the country to seek healthcare services somewhere in India and other places which have become medical tourism to the nation, that is a lot of foreign exchange being carted away.
“I believe the government needs to invest more on manpower in terms of capacity building, we need to get our doctors trained continuously to be at par with their colleagues in the developed world,” he said.
Soyinka added that the Federal Government needed to import technologies to develop Nigerian health sector to compete favourably with developed climes.
The medical director said that unnecessary health-related death, medical tourism and brain drain would continue as long as health sector was not given priority and enough percentage in budget.
Soyinka added: “Any government that is serious about the health of its citizens will make health insurance compulsory and mandatory also.”
According to him, the issue of issuance is key to realising sustainable development in health conditions of people.
He urged the Federal Government to intervene in the ongoing industrial action by the Joint Health Sector Union.
The medical expert, who commended Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode’s commitment to quality healthcare delivery, noted that the state government had done much to uplift standard and ensure that the quality of health services was not compromised.