A proposed legislation seeking to ban public office holders from seeking medical treatment abroad yesterday passed for second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill, which seeks to amend the National Health Act 2014 is sponsored by Hon Sergius Ose Ogun (PDP, Edo), with the intent to prohibit public officials from accessing medicare treatment abroad at the expense of government.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the Bill, Ogun said the bill seeks to put an end to the huge cost often incurred by government in the treatment of public officials abroad.
Ogun, however, explained: “If any public official can on his or her own afford medical treatment abroad, nothing stops the person from doing so.”
He said: “I want to make it clear that it does not bar anybody that has his/her money from getting treatment abroad.
“Nigeria is the only country where the President is flown out for treatment and then have him brought back home to die.
“Nigeria is the only country where the president is flown out for six months, without us knowing the cost of the treatment,” Ogun lamented.
He further decried the poor state of health facilities in the country whilst urging the House to take action with a view to reversing what he described as “the ugly situation” in the interest of the people, who voted them into office.
Ogun argued that the Bill, if passed, would strengthen existing public and private institutions in the country.
He added that “the passage of the bill would facilitate the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the aspect of health through the establishment of strong health institutions and vigilant regulatory authorities.”
Members, who contributed to the debate, commended the sponsor for his patriotic reasoning, stating that it would go a long way in improving health care in the country.
Alhaji Salihu Maidaji, Chairman, House Committee, Media and Public Affairs, said, “I support this bill. There is need for us to curtail medical tourism.”
Namdas drew attention of the House to the need to pay serious attention to issues in the health sector.
He said situations where doctors in the employment of public hospitals abandon their duties there, for their own