President’s treatment abroad a contentious topic for 2019 elections

 

Buhari's supporters claim that a statement trending on social media, where President Buhari condemned medical tourism, is fiction and part of an opposition plot to tarnish the president.

Before his election Buhari did condemn the millions spent by the state on medical tourism overseas, and promised to reduce medical tourism.

75 year old Buhari has been ill for the last two years. His latest trip is the fifth to the UK for medical treatment at state expense, with a total of 170 days in London on medical leave. After a motorbike accident, the president’s son, Yusuf Buhari, was also treated abroad.

Buhari's latest trip coincided with several weeks of strikes by 72,000 public health care professionals who are calling for better working conditions and more funding. They plan a series of indefinite strikes in protect at gross underfunding of local healthcare.

Buhari recently declared his intention to run for a second term in 2019, but many people in Nigeria have called on him to step down because of concerns about his health.

Yemi Adamolekun of Enough Is Enough says “He is getting a superior standard of health care for himself and his son but done virtually nothing to invest in health care infrastructure and provision in Nigeria.”

In 2018, Nigeria is spending 3.9% of its budget on health, compared with a UN target of 15%. For many years, Nigeria has exported medical doctors and nurses to all parts of the world, due to the poor quality of medical facilities and the pervasive shortage of medical supplies, including pharmaceuticals.

Nigerians who can afford it routinely go abroad for medical treatment. The promised universal healthcare has not been delivered.

View the latest IMTJ analysis of outbound medical tourism from Nigeria.

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