- First Lady, Aisha Buhari, declares future presidents and their families will no longer seek medical treatment abroad due to the newly inaugurated N21bn Presidential Wing of the State House Medical Centre.
- The idea for the Presidential Wing arose in 2017 after the president’s extended stay in London for medical treatment.
- Instead of expensive foreign trips, Nigerian Presidents and their families may only need to fly medical experts to Abuja to assist their colleagues.
As First Lady Aisha Buhari announced, Nigerian Presidents and their families will end foreign medical trips thanks to the new N21bn Presidential Wing of the State House Medical Centre.
The unveiling of the facility was joined by President Muhammadu Buhari and other prominent figures in a ceremony held within the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The concept of this Presidential Wing was brought to life in 2017 following the president’s long-term medical visit to London.
Notably, in May 2017, the president took a 104-day medical trip to London, marking his most extended stay abroad since taking office.
According to the First Lady, with the facility’s readiness, there is no more need for Nigerian Presidents and their families to go on expensive trips abroad for medical treatments.
Instead, they can fly medical professionals to Abuja to collaborate with local colleagues.
Aisha Buhari added, expressing her satisfaction and fulfilment, “I initiated this project six years ago when my husband spent three months abroad, 90 days, consecutively. We have all the experts in Nigeria, we only need a good platform.”
She went on to clarify that the new wing aims to cater to the health and wellness of the First Family, thus eliminating the need for extensive health-related trips abroad.
Turning Medical Tide: Presidents Stay Home for Health
Nigeria’s healthcare system marks a significant milestone with the inauguration of the N21bn Presidential Wing of the State House Medical Centre.
The new medical wing signifies a pivotal shift in the country’s stance on medical tourism, especially for the First Family.
Traditionally, medical tourism has been a common practice among Nigeria’s top-tier politicians, including presidents.
The reasoning is understandable: these individuals desire and can afford top-notch medical treatment, which they often believe they can find only abroad.
Yet this comes with its fair share of criticisms.
The opposition argues, and quite rightly that money spent on foreign healthcare services contributes to the economy of another country while draining ours.
They believe funds for these expensive trips should improve Nigeria’s healthcare system.
With the new medical wing, it seems their voices have been heard.
However, it’s not all rosy.
While it’s true that we have medical experts in Nigeria capable of providing excellent healthcare services, the standard of care available to the majority of Nigerians is far from ideal.
The unveiling of the Presidential Wing thus raises questions about the country’s healthcare priorities.
Should the focus be on exclusive wings for the elite, or should it be on improving healthcare services available to the broader public?
The answer, perhaps, lies in finding a balance.
It’s undoubtedly crucial for the health of our leaders to be prioritized. But it’s equally, if not more important, to ensure access to quality healthcare for all Nigerians.
The inauguration of the Presidential Wing is a step in the right direction, but it should be a springboard for broader reforms in the health sector.
Government and healthcare leaders must capitalize on this momentum.
Now is the time to reinvest the funds previously earmarked for medical tourism into the local healthcare system.
Let’s enhance the quality of medical facilities, recruit and retain top medical talents, and make quality healthcare accessible to all Nigerians.
Now is the time for our leaders to take action.
The eyes of Nigerians are on you.
Will you rise to the challenge?
Did You Know?
- Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with over 200 million people, yet its health infrastructure lags behind other countries of comparable size and resources.
- According to a 2020 report by the World Bank, about 90% of Nigerians do not have health insurance.
- Medical tourism costs Nigeria about $1 billion annually, as reported by Nigeria Health Watch in 2016.
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