Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, who spoke on Channels Television’s Hard Copy yesterday, refused to criticise President Muhammadu Buhari’s preference for seeking medical attention in the United Kingdom.
According to the Minister who disclosed that he could not speak for the president, Buhari’s choice of foreign medical treatment was not an indictment on the quality of the healthcare in the country.
Prof. Adewole who absolved Buhari of any wrongdoing on the basis that he was not the only Nigerian that travels abroad for medical care, added that Buhari may have opted for foreign doctors in order to protect his privacy.
The Minister was quoted saying;
“The average Nigerian does not want his medical condition exposed.
“He’s not the only one,” he said.
President Buhari returned to the country yesterday, after a 4-day medical trip to the U.K which he claimed was at the request of his doctors. For nearly two years, President Buhari has been receiving treatment for an unspecified illness, which he has repeatedly refused to discuss.
President Buhari’s latest trip also comes after three weeks of strikes by health care professionals who are calling for better working conditions and more funding. The president’s medical trip also caused reactions from some foreign news media. Reacting to the latest trip, New York Times recalls that during President Buhari’s campaign, he promised to end “medical tourism,” the practice of Nigerian politicians receiving medical treatment abroad even as most citizens are forced to rely on underfunded state medical services.
Thus, for someone who promised to end medical tourism, and who has also reportedly urged politicians not to go abroad to seek medical care, the American news giant said: “Nigerians see Mr Buhari’s actions on health care as hypocritical”.
In its own reaction, CNN reports that President Buhari’s trip to the United Kingdom to see his doctor has reignited “speculations about the state of his health and ability to rule Africa’s biggest economy.”