Nigeria can reduce $15b on medical tourism abroad ― Hunt

An assistant professor of Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, United States of America,  Dr Stephen Hunt, and also a participant at a Radiology conference at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, recently, revealed that the radiotherapy intervention training brought to Nigeria by his team is aimed at reducing the huge expenses made by Nigerians on medical treatment abroad.

He made the disclosure while addressing newsmen at the Biochemistry department, University of Ibadan.

Dr Hunt, who is also a Co-Director, Pen Image-Guided Interventions (PIGI) Laboratory disclosed that his visit to Nigeria in the company of some physicians from the US was to start interventional radiotherapy training for Nigerian physicians to reduce the rate at which Nigerians travel abroad for medical treatment.

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According to him, “We are in the Department of Radiology, UCH for a conference where physicians from the US came for an interventional radiotherapy training for Nigerian medical experts.

“More than $15 billion is spent yearly by Nigerians to travel abroad for medical reasons. We can reduce that if people are trained here so they won’t have to spend a lot of money.

“When they travel, they are not just paying for the medical service, they are also paying for food, accommodation and flight. It won’t be that expensive if it can be treated in Nigeria. A treatment that cost just about 200 dollars in the United States will include the cost of travelling and accommodation. This can be reduced if such treatment is done in Nigeria.”

Hunt said that the choice of Nigeria was as a result of the country’s leadership status across the African continent and because interventional radiotherapy was not practised in the country.

“There are Nigerians who start the training but want to come back, and other people who undergo this training such as whites, Indians and blacks know that Nigeria is the place to start,” he said.

He submitted that over 22,000 Nigerian born doctors resided in the US and UK alone, saying such was greater than the estimated 18,000 currently working in the country.

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