By STELLA UKWUOMA
That Nigeria is in a recession is no longer news. Realizing this, the government of General Mohammadu Buhari took steps to put certain laws, reforms and campaigns in place to curb the economic downturn and steer the nation towards stability again.
One of such policies promoted by the administration is the “change begins with me” campaign. Through this campaign, Nigerians are urged to shun corruption in whatever form and insist on doing things only the right way.
Another campaign launched by the Buhari-led administration is the “buy naija to grow the naira” campaign.
The preference, taste, and love of Nigerians for foreign made goods and the attendant huge cost incurred importing commodities that could be easily and readily produced locally into the country was identified as a major factor depleting the country’s forex and creating unemployment in the nation.
The present administration therefore embarked on a sensitization programme aimed at encouraging Nigerians to go for locally made goods whose qualities are as good if not better than those made abroad.
To that effect, only recently, government ministries and agencies were instructed to use only made in Nigerian products in their ministries and agencies.
Another source through which Nigeria’s forex is depleted was identified to be medical tourism. To curb this, President Buhari barred members of his cabinet from assessing healthcare oversees while in office adding that government will not fund such trips.
While Buhari’s policy pronouncement on medical tourism in 2016 subsists, he has embarked on more than two trips abroad (presently on one) solely for medical reasons.
However, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has justified the President’s frequent medical trips despite the policy pronouncement.
The Minister was reported by THISDAY newspaper as citing long existing patient-doctor bond between President Buhari and his foreign doctors as a justification for his many foreign medical trips funded by the country’s common wealth.
“One thing we must realise is that health is a complex issue. There’s what we call patient-doctor relationship; there is also a bond between the patient and the doctor and these are things we can’t play with” the Minister who is a professor of surgery is quoted as saying.
Adewole urged Nigerians to give the President the choice of choosing where and who to treat him.
This reason offered by his Minister of Health seems to rubbish claims of unequalled love General Buhari has for Nigeria.
The President is presently away in London for treatment of an undisclosed ailment for an undisclosed period.
For a President who is said to love his country dearly, many have said he continues to miss opportunities to project the country’s health sector positively while urging him to print his name in gold through a total overhaul of the sector with state-of-the-art facilities and a conducive atmosphere to enable Nigerian medical practitioners who are acclaimed the very best globally provide quality medical care to citizens and visitors and discourage economic waste by way of medical tourism.