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Published On: Thu, Feb 15th, 2018

Reps okay law banning foreign medical trips

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The House of RepresentativesBy Umar Muhammad Puma

The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a bill seeking to regulate and prohibit international medical trips by government officials.
The bill is titled: “A bill for an Act to amend the National Health Act to regulate and prohibit International medical trip by public servants”.
Sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sergius Ogun (Edo-PDP), while leading the debate, said the amendment seeks to curb the huge foreign exchange loss to medical tourism by facilitating the development of effective health care facilities and strengthening existing public and private health institutions for efficient service delivery.
Ogun decried that over 5,000 citizens fly out on a monthly basis, seeking medical treatment in India and other countries.
According to the lawmaker, Nigeria losses over 500 million dollars annually, with India alone getting about 260 million dollars of the cash flight.
Ogun said it was against this background that the proposed amendment seeks to create a conducive health environment that will attract the best Nigerian medical brains in Diaspora and other foreign medical personnel in search of greener pasture.
He expressed confidence that if the amendment is passed into law it will regulate international trip by public officers in the Federation and bring an end to a huge cash flight, which was inimical to economic growth and development.
Ogun said that only serious health cases, which cannot be attended to in Nigeria, will be granted approval by the Minister of Health.
Contributing to the motion, Rep. Johnson Agbonayinma (Edo-APC), called for swift passage of the bill, saying it will encourage public servants to fix the health care sector by providing world class equipments and facilities through proper funding of the sector.
On her part, Rep. Nnena Elendu Ukeje faulted the amendment, saying it Infringes on the rights of public servants, arguing that there was nowhere in the world this was done.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Healthcare Services by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.

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