NEWS: Confab committee asks FG to control health tourism

By Jun 18, 2014

The Federal Government has been called upon to restrict its sponsorship of public officers who travel abroad for medical treatment.

The National Conference Committee on Social Sector, which stated this in its report, however said government could only do it in exceptional cases where referral abroad was needed.

A former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Josephine Anenih, who was the chairman of the committee, presented the report at the plenary in Abuja on Wednesday.

The report said, “There should be restriction of government sponsorship of public officers for going abroad for medical care.

“Except for exceptional cases that need referral abroad, all public officers in need of government sponsorship for medical care should mandatorily utilize local health facilities

“These exceptional cases should be screened by a medical board made up of appropriate medial and healthcare professionals

“The recommendations of the board should be subject to the approval of the Chief Medical Adviser to the Federal Government (minister of health).”

Before arriving at this recommendations, the committees said it observed the immense capital flight and drain on Nigeria’s economy resulting from medical tourism.

It therefore identified such factors promoting medial tourism to include abuse of existing process for screening of referral for foreign medial travels/care and loss of confidence in Nigeria’s health care system, which it said was as a result of poor quality of health infrastructure and services as well as the unethical conduct and poor attitude of healthcare workers.

Others, according to the report, are poor investment in health, political commitment to improve the health sector and poor public awareness of the available healthcare services in the country.

On education, the committee said that Joint Admission and Examination Board results must last for two years to enable candidates secure admission.

“Considering the carrying capacity of our institution, Jamb results should last two years to enable the student have another trial to secure admission,” the committee said.

It also supported the return of missionary and private schools to the original owners, but added that government and owners of missions/ private schools should dialogue to facilitate the handover of all missions and private schools to their owners.

In returning the schools, the committee said it should be ensured that they are affordable and able to serve wider variety of the public as in the original concept of mission schools.

On whether staff of such institutions should retire or remain with the shells when they are returned, the committee said such staff should have the option of remaining with the institution or being absorbed into government service.


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