Olusegun Mimiko, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, yesterday said Nigerian leaders needed political will to stop people from travelling abroad for medical treatment.
Mimiko stated this while speaking at the 51st Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the International College of Surgeons, Nigeria National Section held at the University College Hospital, Ibadan.
According to him, continued overseas medical trips were a clear message to the government at all levels that all was not well.
He stressed that despite the fact that Nigeria had celebrated medical doctors all over the world, the infrastructure to turn around the image of medical practice in Nigeria was lacking.
The ex-governor said: “The message is to the government. We have cutting-edge medical professionals scattered all around the world. But at home, we must have the necessary infrastructure, equipment, gadgets and the technology before you can practise your art.
“If we build state-of-the-art facilities and create the enabling environment, people will come to Nigeria for medical treatment because we have the personnel. Above all, we need the political will to do all this.”
Speaking on road traffic and trauma care in Nigeria, Mimiko said Nigeria had lost a great percentage of its youth population to preventable road accidents.
“The greatest killer of our young adults from ages 15 to 29 in Nigeria is road traffic accident. The situation is getting worse and government at all levels must sit down to fashion out a comprehensive emergency medical service to be able to respond adequately to this public health epidemic.
“Essentially, there are important legs to road accident and number one is the attitude of our people. According to the World Health Organisation, most accidents are caused by bad behaviours like speeding, drunk-driving, failure to use safety belt and so on. Our intervention, as a nation, must be preventive. It must aim at getting the right attitude.
“When I was the Ondo State governor, we built state-of-the-art motor parks with waiting rooms and we banned the selling of alcoholic beverages at the parks. The psychological environment of our motor parks is perhaps the number one trigger mechanism for many road accidents. In Ondo, we changed the ambience at the parks to drive home the important safety point.”