NIGERIA— The Blueivy Medical Centre, an all-women-owned and operated hospital in Abuja, has held a medical outreach in collaboration with world-renowned specialists to provide quality healthcare for Nigerians.

The healthcare centre hopes the project will stem the rising trend of medical tourism from the country.

The centre brought in experts in orthopaedics and neurosurgery from Egypt and Dubai to provide high-class medical services to its clients.

The visiting specialists included Prof. Mohammed Hafez Ramadan, a neurosurgeon and Dr Azam Badar Khan, a knee surgeon.

The specialists attended to people with chronic knee, back, and neck pains and severe headaches.

Speaking during the outreach, in Abuja, Dr. Maryam Abdulsalam one of the two directors of the hospital, said the goal of the medical outreach is to create lasting relationships with doctors worldwide and ‘have a meeting of the minds.’

Dr Abdulsalam said, “We aim to have Nigerian and foreign doctors exchange and enhance each other’s knowledge and medical techniques to raise the standard of health care, not just here in Abuja, but globally.”

She added that the uniqueness of the Blueivy team is their penchant for a preventive medical approach while providing high-quality curative services.

“To guarantee high-quality treatment services, BlueIvy utilizes the services of renowned medical experts both within and outside Nigeria,” Dr Abdulsalam noted.

She noted that the outreach program would address the need for additional support in treatment courses, as well as open a doorway between BlueIvy and safe, reliable medical tourism without having to go abroad.

“It was not only convenient for Nigerians but a cost-effective way to see more world-renowned doctors without having to leave home,” Dr Abdulsalam commented.

The Blue ivy medical centre opened in the last quarter of 2019 with female directors and all female take-off staff in different fields.

It was initially involved in COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment but in 2023 it has expanded its services to all aspects of healthcare, specializing in women’s care while ensuring patient satisfaction.

Through this new collaboration, the hospital is working towards more medical outreaches aimed at driving medical tourism in both directions for Nigeria.

Outbound Medical Tourism Outlook in Nigeria

The World Health Organisation reports that Nigeria needs some US$25 billion to US$35 billion to meet the population’s health needs this decade.

Moreover, only 10 per cent of healthcare spending is invested in capital equipment and this means hospitals and clinics are poorly equipped.

Furthermore, the private sector accounts for 50 per cent of all financing and spending on healthcare.

The Global Medical Tourism Report that affluent Africans are prime targets for medical tourism in Nigeria.

In addition, travel to India for healthcare generated more than US$260 million in spending in 2019.

The report adds that patients also travel to countries other than India, notably South Africa, Dubai, China, and Malaysia, as well as traditional destinations in the United Kingdom and the United States.

In 2018 the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI) said that Nigeria has around 9,000 outbound medical tourists a month, over 100,000 a year, with India being the major beneficiary of 500 visits a month.

Nigeria can only curtail outbound medical tourism by improving medical infrastructure and developing and retaining adequate specialist personnel.

For instance, the former First Lady, Aisha Buhari noted that her husband’s lengthy stay in a London hospital in 2017 sparked the idea for the recently inaugurated presidential wing of the State House Medical Centre.

Nigeria is also developing its first cancer hospital, and other advanced facilities are being planned using Nigeria’s oil wealth.

However, most observers note that these new facilities would disproportionately benefit the wealthy, who of course are the ones who can seek out medical tourism.

In general, lower-level health spending benefits many more people and is more cost-effective, but basic care isn’t the type that excites breathless ribbon-cutting.