Our major focus is promotion of good health care in Nigeria. We are very proud to be able to provide quality care to the best of our knowledge using local resources. We aim to deliver good outcomes for our patients. This will help eliminate many of the risks of foreign travel.
We will attempt to enumerate some of the risks you face when you chose to travel so people are better informed of the choices they have to make.
1. Blood clots. This is called deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Once you have recently done a long distance travel by air in a pressurized aircraft and shortly after that, you have a surgical operation, you are at a very high risk of massive blood clots which can detach and block the lungs, leading to sudden death.
2. Infection. Everyone’s body is wired to fight germs that are in one’s usual environment. Therefore, when you arrive in a new city, your body defences are attacked by new bugs that you are not ordinarily used to. Your infection risk may be higher than normal.
3. Inadequately trained doctors. This does not mean the doctors are not well trained but they may not be well versed in the types of diseases suffered where you are coming from.
4. Inadequate assessment. Most people just go abroad and the doctors there have to figure out what is wrong. In many situations, you end up spending all your money on investigations you did not plan for but are essential for safe surgery and treatment.
5. Language difficulties. Effective communication is an integral part of proper medical practice and important things can get missing in communication. Even a heavy accent can be a barrier to vital medical communication. At least, here in Nigeria, someone can speak your language and translate if necessary.
6. Poor follow up. This is one major concern with foreign medical treatment. The Japanese medical association was said to have resisted opening up her healthcare to medical tourism for years because it was worried about what it considered unethical practice. The main concern was about treating a patient living thousands of miles away and therefore not being able to follow them up effectively. Many times, people cannot go back for follow up treatment. So if there are unanticipated complications such as with drugs, wounds, implants, many run into difficulties.
The way forward
We need to develop our own local health care system designed to treat everyone equitably. Governments at all level should see their responsibility to develop home grown healthcare as sacrosanct, not optional. Doctors and governments must all work to transfer the skills available in other climes home to treat our people. Anyone choosing to go abroad for surgical treatment must plainly understand the risks of death and severe disability that come with such a venture. Nigerians should be sure before travelling abroad.
We will continue the advocacy till there is confidence in medical treatments in Nigeria!
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