Chris Ngige, minister of labour and productivity, says there is no need for Nigerians to seek medical treatment abroad, as the country has the necessary facilities to provide quality healthcare for citizens.
Ngige said this on Friday, during an interview with Channels Television.
The minister’s comments come amid the current strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), while President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in London, where he is scheduled for a medical check-up after attending the global education summit in the UK.
Since 2015 when Buhari took over office as president, he has spent over 170 days abroad on medical-related reasons.
Asked if the country’s healthcare sector is good enough to discourage Nigerians from travelling abroad, the minister admitted that while the sector is not perfect, the federal government has done its part “well”.
“I haven’t said everything is perfect. I have said that viz-a-viz what we have on ground and the political situation we have, what we are practising — a federation — where health is on the concurrent list, the federal government has exercised its own function well, for me,” he said.
Asked if there is no need for Nigerians to travel abroad, based on his reference to the federal government’s achievements in the health sector, he said: “Why? What are you going to do abroad? Expertise is here.”
Sharing his experience, the labour minister said he has received commendable medical attention at the National Hospital, Abuja, and another private hospital in the country.
“On a good note, on an average note, on a comparative note, medical treatment here is very very good as far as I’m concerned. Yes, at least if you visit federal medical centres,” he said.
“I use the National Hospital here (referring to Abuja). You can go; my card is there.”
Asked why some persons still have to travel abroad for medical check-up despite the amount budgeted to improve the health sector, Ngige said people are free to make their choices.
“For me, it depends on you. If you have the means and you want to do a second option abroad, why not? It is permitted. I have my doctors here,” the minister said.