Buhari Shames Nigeria By Taking Treatment Abroad For Ear Infection – Medical Doctor Writes Open Letter To Buhari
There have been influxes of reactions on Monday over President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to travel to London to receive treatment for his ear infection. One of the people, who have opened up vehemently on their feelings is a medical expert, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, who underwent a successful surgical operation for his ear infection in Nigeria earlier this year.
He has condemned President Buhari’s decision to seek treatment for his persistent ear infection at a London hospital despite the presence of over 250 ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists in the country and a National Ear Centre in Kaduna State.
In an open letter to the president, Mr. Enabulele described his president’s decision to go on a 10-day medical vacation to London as a mockery of the change mantra of his administration and that of the professional competence of Nigerian doctors.
The president’s trip was informed by the advice of his personal physician and an Abuja-based ENT specialist, who recommended further evaluation of his condition.
While admitting that the nature of the persistent ear infection was not revealed in the statement announcing the president’s decision to seek medical help abroad, Mr. Enabulele commended Buhari for disclosing his medical condition, an action he said is a departure from the practice of leaders who hide their ailments.
“I am very constrained to state that this foreign medical trip flies in the face of the federal government’s earlier declaration of her resolve to halt the embarrassing phenomenon of outward medical tourism, which by the end of the year 2013, has led to a humongous capital flight of about $1 billion, particularly from expenses incurred by political and public office holders and their accompanying aides, whose foreign medical trips, most of which are unnecessary, were financed with tax payers’ resources,” he emphasized.
Mr. Enabulele said he had variously, through his writings and public lectures, advised Mr. Buhari to show leadership by example by ensuring that he and members of his cabinet use medical expertise and facilities available locally. This, he said, is expressly stated in Section 46 of the National Health Act, which seeks to address the abuse of resources through frivolous foreign medical travels by political and public office holders.
By opting for treatment abroad, Mr. Enabulele argued that Mr. Buhari has frittered a big opportunity to give traction to his vaunted change mantra. His action, he added, will not inspire confidence in the country’s health sector, which he said currently boasts medical experts on par with those in foreign countries, if not even better.
“If the former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, could patronize Nigerian-trained medical experts and medical facilities here in Nigeria when he unfortunately suffered a fractured femur following a road traffic accident in 2013, I see no reason why in 2016, Mr. President could not have stayed back in Nigeria to attend to his ear infection,” Mr. Enabulele contended.
The medical expert claimed that most public and political office holders who seek foreign medical care are treated by Nigerian-trained doctors, particularly in the United Kingdom, which has over 3000 Nigerian-trained medical doctors, and the United States of America, with over 5000. Most of these foreign-based doctors, Mr. Enabulele added, relocated abroad because of the government’s repeated failure to address the various factors that make the local environment difficult to work in.
“Available records show that in last year (2015) alone, 637 medical doctors emigrated due largely to poor working conditions and health facilities, insecurity, unpredictable and poor funding of the Residency Training Programme, uncompetitive wages and job dissatisfaction,” he stated.
The medical expert suggested that the president should have used his current medical situation to kick-start the government’s plan to revamp the country’s health care system by providing required medical equipment to enable locally-trained trained ENT specialists to treat him and later use the same facilities to attend to other Nigerians with similar conditions.
“In line with my patriotic commitment to the Nigerian dream, I submitted myself for a highly skilled and successful ENT surgical intervention conducted in Nigeria in the month of April in 2016. As a trained medical specialist, I believe that those ENT specialists and medical experts, and many others in Nigeria, who handled my situation then are skilled enough, and with the right equipment in place can handle any complicated ENT problem in Nigeria,” Mr. Enabulele said.