Why do leaders and presidents in Africa fly abroad for hospital treatment, especially to London and America? BattaBox presenters Yp Fluorin and Warri Pikin hit the streets of Lagos to find out.
“Our health sector is not okay today, but that’s not the reason our African leaders fly abroad for healthcare,” says one young Nigerian man. “They fly to foreign hospitals because they want to show us class, that they are at a level we simply cannot reach.”
The problem is that, whenever leaders across Africa are ill, they immediately fly abroad for treatment. This indicates two problems – one, that the healthcare systems in Africa are not good enough for our own presidents, and secondly, why do our own presidents not invest more money into our healthcare systems to ensure they are good enough – and what happens to the money they do invest?
For example, the presidential clinic in Nigeria’s Aso Rock, is supposed to be the pinnacle of healthcare in Nigeria, to care for our president, as well as training medical personnel. In the 2017, over 3 billion Naira was allocated to Nigeria’s State House Medical Centre. And, in the nation’s 2016 budget, the Aso Rock clinic was allocated N3.219 billion, which was also set to ensure the completion of on-going construction work, procurement of drugs and other medical equipment.
And, yet, Nigeria’s president Buhari recently spent 104 days in London for treatment. The Aso Rock hospital clinic equipment is apparently largely shutdown.
Nigeria’s health budget for 2017 is 4.17%. To put this in contest, the USA spends at least $7,000 per citizen, or about N3.5 million. In comparison, Nigeria will spend N1,688 per head for a whole year.
“We don’t have good infrastructure, no good hospitals, no good qualitative healthcare in Africa, so I think it’s not a welcome development,” says one young Nigerian lady. “We need a law that can put a stop to people going abroad for medical treatment, I think they would improve on our local hospitals.”
“Our politicians are just sell-outs,” says a young businessman. “They campaign and say they will change the system and improve hospitals, but then they sell-out.”
How do you feel about the state of Nigeria’s hospitals? Would you travel abroad to foreign hospitals?