Ikudayisi urges FG to enhance healthcare by embracing regenerative medicine
A consultant in Regenerative Medicine and DAB Internal Medicine, and the Medical Director of Glory Wellness Center & Weight Loss Clinic, Tampa, Florida, United States and Lekki, Lagos, Dr. David Ikudayisi, has urged the Federal Government to enhance healthcare in the country by embracing regenerative medicine.
Ikudayisi in a chat with The Guardian said the two great challenges the Nigerian healthcare system faces is the exodus of locally trained healthcare workers and the need for improved access to quality healthcare services. He made general health policy recommendations and emphasises the advantages of developing a thriving regenerative medicine discipline in the country.
The physician said these recommendations aim to address healthcare worker shortages, strengthen health insurance coverage, and promote the integration of regenerative medicine into the Nigerian healthcare landscape.
On facilitating telemedicine, Ikudayisi said given the migration of healthcare workers and the growing need for accessible healthcare services, establishing a national telemedicine infrastructure is crucial. He said this infrastructure should be flexible, allowing private and public sector workers, as well as individual practitioners, to utilise telemedicine tools effectively. Additionally, he said, exploring the involvement of doctors in the diaspora through virtual channels could alleviate the burden on local healthcare professionals.
To strengthen health insurance coverage, Ikudayisi said to ensure comprehensive coverage, efforts should focus on capturing not only the formal sector but also individuals working in the informal sector. He said innovative approaches may be required to extend coverage to those outside the formal employment system.
Furthermore, considering the taxation income from industries associated with chronic diseases, such as the tobacco and sugary beverages industry, as a supplementary source for the healthcare budget could enhance funding.
Regenerative medicine offers unique advantages that can significantly impact healthcare in Nigeria and the progress in regenerative medicine can lead to the control and elimination of previously untreatable medical conditions, reducing the burden of morbidities on the population.
Ikudayisi said by establishing a thriving regenerative medicine discipline, Nigeria can attract inbound medical tourism while simultaneously reducing outbound medical tourism and this shift can alleviate pressure on the national currency and contribute to economic growth. He said a well-developed regenerative medicine field creates new career opportunities for healthcare professionals and reduces the reliance on imported pharmacological products for chronic disease management. Ikudayisi said support the training of new practitioners in regenerative medicine and encourage the adoption of cutting-edge therapies within safe clinical practice and tax incentives for current practitioners can promote the expansion of services, improving affordability and access for patients.
The physician also recommended collaboration among regenerative medicine practitioners through the establishment of an association to regulate the field and facilitate knowledge sharing. “Encourage and also facilitate the collaboration with medical education stakeholders and institutions to integrate regenerative medicine into undergraduate and postgraduate curricula, providing transparent education on the science of, and global practices in the field,” he said. On investment and incentives, Ikudayisi said: “Invest in technology and infrastructure to enable local production and processing of cell-based therapeutic agents.
“Provide tax incentives and importation-related benefits to practitioners and importers of regenerative medicine-related products, consumables, and equipment.” On standards and research, the physician said the Federal Ministry of Health (FmoH) should work with pioneers and practitioners in regenerative medicine to establish standards of practice and promote research through policy support and funding to drive innovation and local development.
Ikudayisi said implementing these policy recommendations can address certain challenges faced by the Nigerian healthcare system. He said by leveraging telemedicine, strengthening health insurance coverage, and embracing regenerative medicine, Nigeria can enhance access to quality healthcare services, reduce medical tourism, create new career opportunities, and contribute to improved health outcomes for its population. “Concerted efforts and collaboration among stakeholders are essential for achieving these goals and advancing the Nigerian healthcare landscape,” Ikudayisi said.
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