Former Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has advised Nigerians to shun medical tourism.

The former President was in Bayelsa for medical check-up and also as a guest of the Bayelsa government which launched a new health programme on Monday.

He later made a stop-over at ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s home.

“With the presence of top quality health care facilities in some parts of the country, Nigerians have no business traveling abroad for treatment,” Mr Obasanjo said after his medical checks at the facility.

He described the standard of the medical facilities at the Bayelsa State Specialist Hospital and Diagnostic Centre, where he had the check-up as ‘high’.

“When I was here earlier this year, I saw the standard of facilities that could be used by all Nigerians, instead of going to the United Kingdom, Dubai, India for medical check-up. I had gone through all the medical checks; my head, eyes, mouth and I was told that my brain is clear, indicating that, my head is correct. And not only that, the services were superb and affordable.

“The same thing you get anywhere in the world, you can find here in Bayelsa. Why do you have to travel?

“What people are going to UK and India for, it is here in Bayelsa State. If we have the facility that is of world standard, why should our pregnant women be dying? By the time you complete your tenure, Bayelsa will not be the same again. I am a witness and beneficiary of your health services and you are changing the face of Bayelsa on a daily basis. You have a partner and an advocate in me.”

Thousands of Nigerians travel abroad each year to seek medical treatment as the nation’s health care system remains poorly funded and equipped.

President Muhammadu Buhari has also been flayed several times for seeking medical attention abroad even as opposition to this was one of the high points of his campaign while seeking office in 2015.

Former Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, recently said Nigeria loses N175 billion annually to medical tourism.

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