Medical Tourism
Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism: Nigerian Medical Lab Scientists in Diaspora to Brainstorm Solutions

Nigerian Medical Laboratory Scientists in Diaspora, NMLSD, has hinted of its readiness to convene a conference aimed at proffering solutions to brain drain and medical tourism which the country is facing.

President of the organization, Dr. Mojeed Shittu, who disclosed this while addressing the media, Friday,in Abuja, attributed factors contributing to medical tourism in Nigeria to inadequate infrastructure, equipment, and inability of authorities to emplace platforms for continuous professional development of medical personel.

He regretted that the development had resulted to mass exodus of medical and health professionals seeking better opportunities abroad.

“The departure of skilled professionals exacerbates these challenges and diminishes the capacity of the healthcare system to meet the population’s needs.

“However, rather than lamenting this brain drain, Nigeria’s government can strategically leverage the expertise of medical laboratory scientists both home and abroad to bolster domestic healthcare services, and ultimately reverse brain drain to brain gain.

“To improve healthcare in Nigeria, the Nigerian government should invest in infrastructure, equipment, and continuous professional development for medical laboratory scientists. While enticing medical laboratory scientists abroad to return to Nigeria may pose challenges, the government can still benefit from their expertise by leveraging technology and fostering collaboration.

“Collaboration with experts abroad enables access to specialized knowledge, advanced techniques, and best practices in laboratory medicine.

“This can lead to earlier detection of diseases, personalized treatment plans, and better monitoring of patient responses to therapy, therefore improving healthcare outcomes and reducing the reliance on medical tourism. The conference will provide a platform to discuss extensively on strategies to foster collaboration between medical laboratory scientists home and abroad.”

On his part, the co-chair of the conference organizing committee, Dr. Ukpai Eze, explained that the practice of Medical Laboratory Science in Nigeria has undergone several milestones, including the enactment of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria Act, 2003 by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He, however, noted that the provision of high-quality laboratory diagnosis in Nigeria has been hampered by poor investments in laboratory infrastructure and manpower training of Medical Laboratory Scientists.

This ineffective and fragile diagnostic capacity, according to him, is one of the drivers of medical tourism and has encouraged Nigerians to embark on overseas medical tourism annually.

Dr. Ukpai further said that increased investments in medical laboratory diagnostic capacity building in Nigeria, especially by Nigerian Diaspora will remarkably improve healthcare service provision in Nigeria, reverse the trend of medical tourism, and reduce the financial burden that medical tourism exerts on average Nigerians who need a high quality of healthcare but cannot access it in the country.

Also speaking,the chairperson of the conference organization committee and the vice president of the organization, Mrs Abiola Oketikun, disclosed that the conference which will hold on March 23, 2024, is with the theme: “Leveraging the Diaspora Experience for an Improved Medical Laboratory Science Practice in Nigeria.”

SOURCE: Vanguard