It is 100 days today that Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari left the shores of the country for medical vacation in London.
The president who has not really been healthy since he commenced his tenure in office was flown out of the country for medical attention 100 days back. This is purportedly attributed to the lack of adequate medical facilities in Nigerian hospitals, which indicts him and those before him in office.
While it is good to pray for him, it is also good to pray for them to have senses to invest and develop healthcare facilities and delivery in Nigeria.
A BBC writer, Damian Zane in a beautiful article recently tried to bring to the fore why African leaders like Muhammadu Buhari, Dos Santos of Angola, and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, spend so much time and money in foreign or overseas hospitals.
He said that the presidents of Nigeria, Angola, Zimbabwe, Benin and Algeria all have something in common – an apparent lack of faith in the health systems at home.
In terms of time spent abroad getting medical help, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, 74, is the first among equals, but in the past year, all these heads of state have travelled overseas for health reasons.
In many cases, they are leaving behind poorly funded health services, which most of their citizens have to rely on.
In 2010, the average amount spent on health in African countries per person was $135 (£100) compared to $3,150 in high-income countries, the UN’s World Health Organization said.
In Zimbabwe, for example, state-run hospitals and clinics often run out of basic medicines like painkillers and antibiotics, according to health watchdog Citizens Health Watch.
It says that the public health care system “continues to deteriorate at alarming levels” with the lack of money being the main problem.
Publicly funded Nigerian hospitals are seen as lacking resources and not offering the best care.
As for Nigeria, the public health system is “terrible” because of poor funding, says BBC Abuja editor Naziru Mikailu.
Now, when we compare this president’s faith in the public healthcare or healthcare services in the country to that of the immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, it becomes glaring that it is a matter of sense of patriotism.
Goodluck Jonathan throughout his six-year tenure never spent a day in a hospital outside the shores of Nigeria. Why did Jonathan have such faith in the healthcare service within the borders of Nigeria but Buhari does not?
The answer is very clear, one man has faith in his country and a good patriot while the other lacks every faith and has little or no sense of patriotism.
These leaders should do more to invest in healthcare in Nigeria and this will restore their faith in the healthcare services in the country and check on the health tourism by them and their colleagues.
We wish well and hope he recovers and returns home to his family if not to his seat.