The Nigeria Medical Association has called for interest-free loan for its members to import duty-free hospital equipment, boost the health sector and curtail the menace of brain drain in the country.
Dr Ekpe Phillips, the Chairman, NMA FCT chapter, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the Indian government saw a need to address the scourge and quickly offered her medical practitioners free interest loan to import technological driven equipment.
Phillips said: “Let me tell you what India did, India encouraged all the brain drained as many as possible to come back to India and gave them interest free loans.
“So they imported technology medical show knowledge in India and today India is benefiting from medical tourists. India makes billions of dollars on yearly basis from medical tourism.”
He said that Nigeria was one of the victims of such move, adding that Nigeria lost over 1 million dollars a year per medical tourist which is more than the health budget for Nigeria.
According to him, 1 million dollar converted to Naira is N360 billion, which is more than the budget for health in Nigeria, saying it is very unfortunate.
He called on the government to encourage anything health that would make Nigerians healthy, adding that a free interest loan for medical practitioners will be a way to revamp the health sector.
He said: “Because one truth is this, even if you travel abroad to access treatment, you are also faced with the problem of having to be travelling always for follow up.”
According to him, it is not an easy thing to manage a patient; the government must provide the enabling environment.