The House of Representatives has commenced process on a law that would discourage medical tourism embarked by some public office holders.
The Bill sponsored by Rep. Sergius Ogun (Edo-PDP) seeks to prohibit international trips for medical treatment by public officers without approval and strengthen health institutions for efficient service delivery.
Ogun said on Wednesday that the bill comprising of 13 clauses was necessitated by the need to address the abuse of opportunities by public officers who seek medical treatment abroad.
“These abuses are many, on the pretext of fabricated medical conditions, many public officials simply disappear from Nigeria and abdicate their duties for lengthy periods while their emoluments are paid for the period.
“Nigeria is also paying the bills for their medical tours.
“Even those who have not fabricated their conditions abandon their official duties on account of ailments that can be treated in Nigeria.
“It is said that hundreds of Nigerians daily embark on medical tours to countries in Europe, America and Asia; a great number of these Nigerians are public officials,’’ Ogun said.
He said that “Pharmanews’ quoted the 2014 Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) annual report as stating that the Indian High Commission confirmed that Indian hospitals received 18,000 Nigerians on medical visa in 2012.
“And these Nigerians spent about $260million on those trips in one year
“This gives us a picture of what Nigeria as a nation has sunk overall into medical tours by public officials and their kit and kin.
“There is urgent need to curtail this anomaly,’’ the lawmaker added.
The bill is expected to come up for second reading and debate on its general principles.