House Of Reps Move To Bar Public Officials From Travelling Abroad For Medical Treatment
The bill seeking to amend the National Health Act 2014 was sponsored by Sergius Ogun.
In his lead debate, Ogun said the bill seeks to put an end to huge costs incurred by government in the treatment of public officials abroad.
He, however, said if any public official could, on his or her own, afford medical treatment abroad, nothing stopped the person from doing so.
“I want to make it clear that it does not bar anybody that has (his or her) money from getting treatment abroad.
“Nigeria is the only country where the president is flown out for treatment and brought back home to die.
“Nigeria is the only country where the president is flown out for six months, without us knowing the cost of the treatment.”
Ogun decried the poor state of health facilities in the country and urged the House to take action and reverse the ugly situation “in the interest of the people” who voted them into office.
The lawmaker said if passed, the bill would strengthen existing public and private institutions in the country.
Besides, he said passage of the bill would “facilitate realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to health through the establishment of strong health institutions and vigilant regulatory authorities.”
Chairman, House Committee, Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrasak Namdas, added: “I support this bill. There is need for us to curtail medical tourism.”
But Namdas noted that there is need to pay serious attention to issues in the health sector.
According to him, situations where doctors in public hospitals abandoned their duties for their own private clinics must also be addressed.