African Press International (API)

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Nigeria: Doctors berate public officers for treatment abroad

Posted by African Press International on August 31, 2008

Abuja (Nigeria) – The Nigerian Medical Association has berated public officers travelling abroad for medical treatment, saying the practice was shameful.

The association, which stated this during a visit to the headquarters of Punch Nigeria Limited in Lagos, lamented the poor health indices of the country.

The NMA also faulted attempts by other groups in the health sector to head health ministries and institutions.

The national officers of the NMA, who were led by their President, Dr. Proper Igboeli, said public officers should be prevented from going abroad for medical treatment.

According to Igboeli, the practice translates to their (public office holders) lack of commitment to the fundamental rights of Nigerians to have access to qualitative health care as enshrined in our constitution. We must reverse this trend.

The NMA president said, God has a way of dealing with this issue. Not many of those people who went abroad came back home alive.

Some of them died in the airport. They didnt even leave the shores of the country. They could have been helped in our teaching hospitals, if they had known that we were human beings like them.

He stated that many public officer holders who patronised foreign hospitals used stolen funds to pay their medical bills.

I am not saying if you have money, you cannot go abroad for treatment. It is your private business. But when you are in a position of authority, you cannot use public funds to treat yourself. The money they spend is the one they steal. We know they are stealing. We cannot look away from the obvious, he said.

Commenting on the rivalry among health professionals, Igboeli said, Doctors are traditionally, the heads of medical teams in the world.

He attributed attempts by other groups to head health institutions to what he called, lack of inter-professional discipline.

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API/Source.The Punch (Nigeria), by Niyi Odebode – August 26, 2008.

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