Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was, on Saturdcay, July 16, 2022, hospitalized at the Duchess International Hospital, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos for a surgical procedure on account of a recurring pain in the leg.
According to Osinbajo’s spokesperson, Laolu wAkande, “He had a surgical operation performed by a team of specialist doctors.
“The operation was successful, and he is expected to be discharged within the next few days,” the statement signed by Dr Adedoyin Dosunmu-Ogunbi, Medical Director, Duchess International Hospital, Ikeja, said.
Nigerians have been reacting to the Vice President’s action of considering to undergo a surgical operation to correct a fracture on his right thigh bone in Nigeria even against the advice of the doctors who attended to him, that he should travel abroad for the surgery.
Osinbajo was commended for believing in the country and always patronizing Nigerian hospitals. Another commentator described the Vice President as one who is committed to “Made in Nigeria”, adding that “Only patriotic leaders and citizens stick to everything Nigerian”.
Yet another respondent wrote, “Your Excellency, thank you for believing in our doctors. Thank you for believing in our healthcare system and thank you for believing in the potentials that abound in our country. You are leading by example”. In its reaction, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) called on political office holders to emulate the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo by seeking medical treatment in the country rather than travelling out.
In Nigeria, political office holders travel abroad for even routine medical check up! President Buhari is perhaps the biggest offender in this matter of medical tourism. These frequent travels abroad by the elites of the society to seek medical attention has a huge impact on the nation’s economy and healthcare system.
The Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) had described medical tourism by President Buhari as a “global disgrace”, an obvious reference to the fact that such foreign medical trips expose the inadequacies in our healthcare system, to the outside world.
While on electioneering campaign in 2015, Muhammadu Buhari had promised to stop medical tourism and save the nation scarce foreign exchange, if elected as president. In fact, he promised to ban elected government officials from foreign medical trips after he rued the millions of dollars expended on medical tourism.
Seven years after Buhari’s promise the issue of medical tourism and its attendant drain on the economy, still persists. According to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), about N576 billion ($1.2 billion) is lost to medical tourism yearly in Nigeria, an amount that could have been invested in the development of the country’s health care system and the country as a whole.
Osinbajo’s bold decision to undergo the surgical procedure here in Nigeria is a loud statement against medical tourism. It is a perfect demonstration of leadership by example because our leaders cannot be preaching one thing and be seen to be doing something contrary.
Following Osinbajo’s patriotic action, the onus is now on the political class to take a cue from the leadership example set by the Vice President, and begin to look inward rather than jetting out of the country for common ailments that can be handled locally.
If our political class have the patriotism to follow Osinbajo’s example, the country will save billions of Naira as well as conserve scarce foreign exchange, which can be invested in the health sector, which will not only provide the needed heath facilities but will equally reduce the incidence of brain drain.