From FRED ITUA, Abuja
The Managing Director of Martreach Global Health Care Services in the nation’s capital, Abuja, Mr. Martins Chidi Okonkwo at the weekend told newsmen that Nigerians who go to Germany for medical treatments spend over N200 million monthly.
According to Mr. Okonkwo who has been a medical tourist facilitator since 1997, an average Nigerian spends minimum of $20,000 for treatment in Germany and in some other parts of Europe. He revealed the reason why many Nigerian elites prefer to go to Germany for medical treatments even when there are better facilities in other parts of Western Europe. “Nigerian politicians prefer Germany because German hospitals maintain secrecy agreement with their patients,” Okonkwo noted. “Government cannot stop the elites from travelling abroad for medical treatment until we make investments in our healthcare.”
While adding that the German government issues more than 50,000 medical visas to foreigners every year, he said that Nigerian elites account for the highest number of recipients of these visas in Africa and among the highest in the world. Making further revelations, he said Nigeria inspite of its huge population doesn’t have any air ambulance. He lamented that this ought not to be so if Nigeria places high premium on the lives of its citizens.
He further maintained that medical tourism is not peculiar to Nigeria, but emphasised on the need to stem the tide by building a strong healthcare system. “At the moment, 90 percent of Nigerian hospitals cannot carry out very serious medical procedure as we still hope to catch up in a very short time. These and many other reasons are why Nigerians still prefer to travel to seek medical help abroad,” he stated.