A group of doctors – comprising of specialists from varied branches of medicine who trained, lived and worked in the Diaspora – have vowed to make Nigeria a health tourist destination.

This commitment was expressed at the Doctors For Change (an organisation of Nigerian doctors in the Diaspora, DFC) convention held on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Radisson Blue Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

The event, which lasted all day, had in attendance the Lagos State Commissioner for Health – Prof. Akin Abayomi – who explained the efforts the Lagos State government has been making to turn the state into a choice destination for medical tourism. 

The commissioner decried the brain drain in the medical sector but expressed optimism that our doctors in the Diaspora would return with enhanced capacity. This, he said, would ultimately make a positive impact on the health sector.

The Chairman/CEO of Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, wished the attendees well. In her goodwill message, she assured them of her willingness to work closely with DFC to encourage more Diasporan doctors to give back to the country of their birth.

Also speaking during the opening ceremony, the Chairman of Board of Governors of the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos – Dr. Aderemi Desalu – noted that Nigerians spend an astronomical sum yearly on medical tourism abroad for the same level of care that our Diaspora doctors can provide. 

He encouraged more doctors in the Diaspora to return home and set up practice as this would boost the economy of the country.

In his welcome address, the convener of the convention, Dr. Babaseyi Oyesola, revealed that he started the DFC because he got tired of complaining about the challenges of the health sector in Nigeria and decided to do something about it. The photography enthusiast shared his hopes that DFC would make an appreciable impact on the Nigerian health system.

Several experts –  including Dr. Pamela Ajayi, President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN) – added their voices to promote the concept of investing in healthcare in Nigeria from the Diaspora.

Five engaging panels were held on cardiovascular care, cancer care, radiology services, spine and joint replacement surgeries. 

Notable specialists from the United Kingdom, United States of America, South Africa and other countries were panelists.

They include Dr. Iheanacho Emeruwa (obstetrician/gynaecologist), Dr. Iyore James (minimally invasive transplant surgeon), Dr. Sam Osaghae (urologist), Dr. Ike Nwachukwu (orthopedic surgeon), Dr. Modupe Elebute-Odunsi (hemato-oncologist), Dr. Chinenye Iwuji (medical oncologist), Dr. Hameed Ninalowo (medical radiologist).

After the learning and sharing sessions, the doctors reconvened in the evening with their dancing shoes ready for a night of fun. 

The long and tightly packed convention ended on an exciting note with a renewed zeal to contribute to Nigeria’s health sector. The event also achieved a widened interest in DFC and it’s activities.

Dr. Biodun Ogungbo, a neurosurgeon, expressed his delight with the success of the convention, profusely thanking the sponsors and attendees and inviting them to participate again next year.

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