Abia State Governor Dr. Alex Otti. 

Gov Otti Aims To Reverse Medical Tourism, Pledges Resources To Transform Abia Healthcare Sector

In a bid to counter medical tourism in Abia State, Governor Alex Otti has pledged to allocate relevant resources to improve healthcare services.

Governor Otti made this known during a meeting with members of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria(MDCN) Accreditation Team in Nvosi, Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area.

 

The Governor restated the commitment of the present government to ensuring that there would improved access to quality healthcare services in the state.

 

He also expressed the resolve of his administration to build a medical village that would provide quality Medicare and follow-up care to patients.

“Our vision is to reverse medical tourism not just in Abia, but in Nigeria.

“If the numbers by the past administration is anything to go by, the country spends not less than $ 1.6 billion on medical tourism and not less than 50 to 60 per cent of that money is spent in India.

“When we are done with our medical village, we are targeting 10 per cent of the $1.6 billion in Abia,” he added.

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Governor Otti further said that the government allotted 15 and 20 per cent of the state’s 2024 budget to health and education, respectively, adding that this would drive the government’s efforts to transform the health and education sectors.

 

He said that the government was desirous to provide easy access to quality education, adding that plans were underway to commence a scholarship scheme to help the indigent have access to education as well as give free education to some level.

 

Otti also said that he had taken note of the issues pointed out by the MDCN accreditation team, which require urgent attention, and added that government would expedite action to ensure that they would be addressed.

 

He said that the government was making deliberate and intentional efforts to ensure that the accreditation of Abia State University Teaching Hospital was restored.

“Never again should it be heard that we will lose accreditation,” Otti added.

The Registrar of MDCN, Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, commended the government for its giant strides in the health sector, especially in the allocation of 15 per cent of the annual budget to health and decision to build a medical village.

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Sanusi, who was represented by the Deputy Registrar, Dr Nnaemeka Nwakanma, described it as a step in the right direction, which would help in reversing medical tourism.

 

He commended the government for its efforts in transforming the health sector and to secure re-accreditation for ABSUTH.

 

Sanusi said that as much as the government was desirous to continue the training of medical doctors in ABSUTH there were a few things that ought to be addressed.

 

He urged the government to conduct massive recruitment of appropriate medically qualified academic staff, build a clinical skills laboratory and provide modern medical equipment for learning.

 

Earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo, said that the government was implementing various innovations in the health sector to improve access to quality and affordable healthcare in Abia.

 

Okoronkwo said that the government would be establishing a medical village to boost healthcare delivery in the state, and added government would be conducting training and retraining of doctors to further drive its agenda in the health sector.

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The Vice Chancellor of Abia State University, Prof. Onyemachi Ogbulu, thanked the government for helping the institution to stay on track, adding that accreditation remains a vital factor for healthy progress to be recorded in every system.

 

Ogbulu added that the areas pointed out by the MDCN accreditation team, which need to be improved upon would be adequately addressed.