‘Nigerian government needs to step up to improve healthcare,’ she said
A consultant obstetrician and gynecologist has urged Nigerian government to be more proactive in ensuring that citizens of the country can access top quality health services. Dr. Omowunmi Braithwaite, an American board certified Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at the American Hospital Dubai said this in a chat with HealthNewsNG in Lagos, Nigeria.
She stressed that government and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s healthcare sector need to admit that healthcare is expensive globally. But in spite of its high cost, she said many countries are able to offer best health services to its people for free as it is in the United Kingdom via the NHS initiative.
“Medical insurance should be preceded by the availability of physical facilities,” she told HealthNewsNG.
According to her, indigenous people in the UK and other countries are able to benefit from free healthcare and she strongly believed that Nigeria needs to have a similar initiative to cater for the health needs of its people.
Making case for Dubai as a preferred destination for medical tourism, she said it is easier to secure travel visas to Dubai, making it easier for individuals seeking medical attention abroad to bring their friends, family members and other loved ones along with them on the trip, in comparison to other destinations.
Before choosing which hospital to go when in search for medical treatment abroad, she encouraged prospective Nigerian medical tourists to ensure that get adequate information on the health institution destinations that had been recommended.
“Hospitals are expected to have data on complication and mortality rates and these data are expected to be prepared on doctor-to-doctor basis. Endeavor to read the doctor’s CV. Patients are encouraged to go online,” she told HealthNewsNG.
She also stressed the need for the Nigerian government through its health ministry to take active steps towards regulating the medical tourism space in the country by taking proactive steps to protect its citizens which she said had become necessary following observation that there are numerous players, both good and bad, in the medical tourism ecosystem.
“Everyone is venturing into medical tourism including the good and the bad ones. While the patients going to them are sick and in search of help, not all the medical tourism players have the best interest of the patients at heart,” she said.
According to her, Nigeria needs to put together a recommendation list for medical tourism.
“Government needs to put together a team of high ranking doctors in Nigeria to visit health facilities around the world. The team will create a recommendation list that will guide in ensuring standardization of medical tourism in Nigeria,” she said.
She revealed that when medical facilities are aware of the existence of such a powerful government team, they will be compelled to improve the quality of their services.
“It would be encouraged that the team pays unscheduled visits in order to ascertain the quality of services and to accredit such,” Braithwaite said.
She described American Hospital Dubai as an A-grade institution that was established to bring high level healthcare to the Middle East. The hospital recently became a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
“All our doctors are at consultant levels and are with the patient all the way. Our facilities are exceptional and our patients enjoy a seamless stress-free process,” she told HealthNewsNG.