Nigeria: Former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has urged the Federal Government and its state counterparts to muster enough political will to discontinue the practice of Nigerians travelling abroad for medical treatment. The Medical Doctor-turned-politician said In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Thursday that the constant “relocation” of Nigerians overseas for medical tourism is a sort of clear message to the various governments at all levels, because Nigeria has abundant medical practitioners, who are celebrated all over the world, but that the required infrastructures necessary for them to practice their trade in the country are lacking.
Mimiko was the guest speaker at the 51st Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the International College of Surgeons, Nigeria National Section, held at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.
The event, which had the theme, ‘The role of surgery in trauma care’, also had in attendance the Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan.
Mimiko said; “The message is to the governments at all levels. We have cutting edge medical professionals scattered all around the world. But at home, we must have the necessary infrastructure, equipment, gadget and the technology before you can practice your act.
“If we build state -of- the- art facilities and create the enabling environment, people will come to Nigeria for medical treatment because we have the personnel. Above all, we need the political will to do all these.”
The former Minister of Housing, added that through the absence of an organized road traffic and trauma care in Nigeria, the country has lost a great percentage of its youth population to preventable road accidents .
“The greatest killer of our young adults from age 15 – 29 in Nigeria is road traffic accident. The situation is getting worse and government at all levels must sit down to fashion out a comprehensive emergency medical service to be able to respond adequately to this public health epidemic.
“Essentially, there are important legs to road accident and number one is the attitude of our people. According to the World Health Organisation, most accidents are caused by bad behaviours like over-speeding, drunk driving, failure to use safety belt and so on. Our intervention as a nation must be preventive. It must aim at getting the right attitude.
On his efforts as a governor while in office in this regards, He said “When I was the Ondo State governor, we built state -of- the- art motor parks with waiting rooms and we banned the sales of alcoholic beverages at these parks.
‘The psychological environment of our motor parks is perhaps the number one trigger mechanism for many road accidents. In Ondo, we changed the ambience at the parks to drive home the importance of safety point.”
“It is important to design roads in such a way that it would have walk -ways for pedestrians, and there must be ambulance with advanced life- saving gadgets appropriately located around the country to save accident victims… ”
“We must also have trained paramedics with advanced equipment like the ones we used in Ondo State, that can turn apart any vehicle and rescue victims. The first one hour after an accident is golden and that is when we lose most victims because there is no system in place to attend to them immediately,” says the former governor.