How to reduce medical tourism, by Okowa
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has said that the worrisome medical tourism by Nigerians will greatly reduce, with effective Patient-Centered Care (PCC) system in place, as citizens will have more confidence in the health facilities.
He made the statement while delivering a keynote address at the 2nd National Health Summit and the 25th Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) triennial conference in Abuja on Tuesday,
Dr. Okowa noted, “PCC has the great potential to produce much better outcomes in a cost-efficient manner, reduce system errors and increase patient satisfaction that would radically alter the current unfavourable perception of our healthcare system by the majority of the public.”
According to Okowa, “While expansion to access and functionality of our health institutions is necessary, the greater need is a resolve by healthcare providers and teams to be more committed to their duties. We must practise with some reasonable level of integrity, ensuring that the voice of the patient (and family) is not silenced and in consonance with the Physician Pledge.
“Our patients ought to be respected and treated fairly because, saving lives is not just the cure of an ailment, it is the total wellbeing of the patient, who must be a friend and partner in the healthcare process.”
He continued: “The structure of the PCC must be such that encourages the participation of all while enabling the patient to fully share in the decision-making process as the PCC model is enhanced when roles of team members are clearly spelled out in a way that is empowering and invites accountability. The PCC focusses on the patients’ satisfaction and their perception of good quality as indicators of quality healthcare.”.
The governor also said that the National Health Summit would shape and influence the national conversation on healthcare system in Nigeria, observing that “NMA deserves commendation for its drive and passion to improve medical practice in the country for better patient care and health outcomes, as well as canvassing for standard operative environment for its members and other healthcare providers”
“In line with global best practices over the years, NMA has continued to impress with its robust advocacy, training, and development of its members as well as engaging in corporate social responsibility through public enlightenment programmes, especially with regard to communicable diseases.”
President Mohamadu Buhari represented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on the occasion, stated that patients expect to be accorded full confidentiality and respect, saying, “the patient must be kept updated to the nature and possible complications of his treatment and patient dignity must remain sacrosanct.”
President Buhari also observed that loss of confidence in the hospital was the cause of medical tourism, assuring that the federal government will open conversations with doctors and nurses to improve healthcare delivery.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, General Yakubu Gowon had expressed hope that the summit will bring more suggestions to improve the Nigeria health sector, while NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said “All the disadvantaged communities within the Commonwealth must be given a voice and foundations to take health care systems in the Commonwealth to a new direction”.