|Professor Alonge (middle)|
The Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Prof Temitope Alonge blames doctors for contributing to medical tourism in Nigeria.
Delivering a paper titled: "The Nigerian Health Sector: Maladies and Remedies" at the inauguration of Tri-State Heart and Cardiovascular Centre, Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan-Remo, in Ogun State at the weekend, Alonge said: "Medical tourism is common on our lips. But medical tourism is not the fault of the tourist. The major problem in medical tourism are doctors in Nigeria and business men in Nigeria. The doctors in Nigeria tell their friends in abroad, 'we cannot do it in Nigeria so I am going to ship them over to you'.
"The Indian government established a system in UCH that is called the Pan-African Network. And they wanted me to refer patients to India. And I told them not in your life will I do that. If I can't manage a case in UCH that will be part of one per cent that we cannot cover. Because we have more than enough manpower; what we need to do is to strengthen the resources.
"I have colleagues in Lagos who do nothing but medical tourism. They are certificated as doctors but what they do is to ship patients abroad. Because for every sixth patient you send to India, America, the money that is supposed to use for that patient will be paid to you. So, if I send 10 patients, only eight patients will pay. The remaining five million will will be paid to the doctor."
Did I hear you say whistleblower? Maybe, but he spoke the truth.