Medical tourism is a situation where the political elite of a country travels abroad to seek medical attention. This is a vice that’s growing in the continent. Clearly, many political leaders would not seek local health care, even in the event of a minor sickness. So what transpires? Of course going abroad for medical help is costly. The politicians are not scared about this trend. This is because at the end of the day, not a single coin gets from their pockets. The taxpayers carry this burden at the expense of getting better lives. Read on to understand why Africa needs to end medical tourism.
For instance, Nigeria’s President Mohammad Buhari in his campaign promised to end medical tourism. However, this is not the case since he himself has sought treatment abroad severally. In fact, he spent 175 days in London for treatment at the expense of attending to his duties. According to a reliable source, Buhari spent 0.07% of the health care budget to cater for his special treatment. Even though everyone has the right to do what they want, spending taxpayers’ money for won benefits is wrong.
Why do politicians degrade local Medicare?
It’s clear that none of the African politicians want to be associated with local treatment. If they are not, can they improve the healthcare at home? No I don’t think so. They health infrastructure in the home countries will continue lagging. Additionally, there is what we call brain drain today. This is mostly evident in countries like Nigeria. The medical professionals after completing their studies go abroad in search of greener pastures. The situation is in a sorry state in the hoe countries. No health infrastructure and no competent medical professionals. To answer the question why Africa needs to end medical tourism, much needs to be done.
Is it fair to seek medical care abroad?
If at all the politicians are not obsessed with seeking medical care abroad, they would develop the health system at home. They will invest in infrastructure, skilled labor and quality health for all. It’s very devastating to find citizens who are ideally the taxpayers lying helplessly on hospital floors. On the other hand, their counterparts, the elite politicians rush to expensive Medicare abroad.
We have also in many cases experienced striking medical staff due to low payments. If only governments could focus on making the health care system streamlined, things would be better. We are tired of watching people die since our systems and infrastructures are wanting.
What needs to be done?
Investing in health care and ensuring the budget allocated to health is spent well is one of the solutions. Besides that, there needs to be policies on illegality of abroad treatment unless the condition is critical. If leaders in office find formulated policies on abroad treatment, they will have no choice but to adhere.
This article has discussed why Africa needs to end medical tourism as soon as possible. It’s one of the ways in which the taxpayers’ money is wasted. Leaders are expected to improve the living conditions of the people while in office. It doesn’t make sense to go abroad when you can make best what’s in your country.