LEGAL IDEAS FORUM

Obada Martins-Medical tourism, the law and the Challenges of the Nigeria Health Sector

Waking up one morning, I read the notifications on my phone and an application on public awareness has a news feed which reads, “Save her from Cancer, any amount will be duly appreciated” with the essential account details. In my bid to get concerned, I followed up and in few weeks, I learned the little girl was late. Some few days later, I heard a notable official of this great country is traveling abroad just for medical aid. Without doubt, looking closely at the position of such individual, it is indisputable that he is likely to put a lot of expenses and measures just for a medical aid. Due to confidentiality, the ailment would not be disclosed but it is worthy to note that it can be cured by the local herbs of an old woman in my street.
Medical tourism is a situation whereby people seek solace in other country to obtain medical treatment or better said, it is a situation whereby people who do not trust the efficacy of their health sector or due to lack of adequate provision of health services, seek solace in another country’s health institution because they feel they are more advanced.
It is generally accepted that “Charity begins at home” but do we ensure its efficacy? Most times we misinterpret what it implies like an atheist who turns the word of the scripture to suit his line of thought. We cannot lay it all on the leaders who are in the forefront and has refused to lay a good example for other influential citizens of this country.

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of Nigerians embark abroad every year in search of what some may term “Greener pastures” or “The Best”. Are we not ashamed? Why should your country not be the best? Why should foreigners not look at us as a model instead?

 

Nevertheless, there are various risks associated with medical tourism. The traveling alone has health effects on the patient. It has also been proven that medical tourist are at risk of exposure to blood-borne infection due to inadequate blood collection, screening and storage protocols in destination countries. Transplant patients are likely to experience higher rates of severe infectious complications. The quality of medical care in other countries may not be assured hence, the devil you know, is better than the Angel you know not.
According to Wikipedia, receiving medical care abroad may subject medical tourist to unfamiliar legal issues. The limited nature of litigation in various countries is a reason for accessibility of care overseas. There tend to be what is called Medical malpractice at the detriment or risk of the patient who may not be able to seek compensation or insurance through malpractice lawsuit. The hospital, if labelled to be vicariously liable for the patient’s welfare may be unable to pay for damages.
Do you even realise the more you keep up with this, the more you spend more for them and they thrive while your country is degrading? This is usually in Africa countries with special reference to Nigeria. Every Year, a worthwhile number of Nigerians travel to majorly three countries, India, UK and USA for treatment such as cancer, orthopaedic surgeries, cosmetic surgeries, transplants, and so on.
Who are we to blame? The Government? The Health Centre or Agencies? The Individual or Poor Service Delivery? Our Problem is due to a singular tense, selfishness. Yes! Man is born to care for himself alone and not look after the welfare of others. A selfless man is an Angel in budding. The height of Medical tourism can be traced to inadequate and non-efficacious training of medical personnel. The wishy-washy style of attending to patients, Lack of the essential amenities and facilities and even in its provision, the management required is not adequately handled. We suffer not just the menace of brain drain but also patient drain. Who wants to die? It has been said that the dead man is usually an unprepared man and if man was left to live forever, the world will be a better place by now because the dead are genius and custodian of treasures.
We have to start thinking out-of-the-box and in an unlimited scope, we should ensure proper regulation and management of our medical services. We should start ensuring the quality of service and popular confidence. We should be proud to know that our country is rated the number one in terms of medical efficiency. Apart from gaining facilities and man-power services from the foreigners, we should also endeavor to use what we have to get what we want in a positive connotation. Our failure is not due to our weakness, it is due to the realization of our ignorance.

 

 
About the author 

 

Obada Toyosi Charles-Martin is a Law Student of Acheivers University OWO and a seasoned author and writer  
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For knowledge and Justice

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