If I Become a Medical Doctor in the Future, Where Will My President Go for Treatment?

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If I Become a Medical Doctor in the Future, Where Will My President Go for Treatment?

I woke up this morning with this troubling question, if I become a medical doctor in the future, will my president go for treatment overseas? Waves of trepidation run through my being as I feel my ego deflate, while contemplating a bleak future. With my commitment to constant learning, development and ambition to become the best in my field, I hadn’t nursed any doubt that any leader in my country would look elsewhere when a service I could render is required.

As usual, this was thrown up for discussion amongst my friends and opinion started flying. We agreed that some factors are responsible for the optimal function and productivity expected from a trained medical doctor. It begins from the quality of training the fellow receives in the school of medicine. It proceeds to the skills possessed by persons in a team where the doctor works. Then, the facility and infrastructure at their disposal. Several external factors are involved.

Within the last decade, six of the twelve African leaders who died while in office did so during medical treatment in foreign countries. Late president of Nigeria, Umaru Yar’adua died after returning to the country, following months of treatment in a Saudi Arabia’s hospital. The incumbent president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has been away on treatment in a UK’s hospital for months. Ditto for Zimbabwe and Angola whose presidents are patients in foreign hospitals. In 2015, former governor of Akwa Ibom, an oil-rich state in Nigeria, Godswill Akpabio sought medical treatment in London after an accident, just four months after commissioning a $95 million hospital in his state. Historically, Nigeria’s political leaders have exhibited ignoble taste for medical treatment overseas.


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Is it not an irony, when political aspirants promise to development the medical sector, only to get to the office and seek medical treatment for themselves elsewhere? If it is lack of trust in doctor’s competence, I recall that WHO put the figure of Nigerian doctors in diaspora at about 15,000. These individuals are touted to be among the finest globally. If it is lack of facility, is two years not enough to have developed a medical sector where you are proud to be treated?

If this is a culture or attitudinal ill, it is high time our political elite shake it off. Action they say speaks louder than voice. By seeking medical treatment abroad, political leaders are invariably demonstrating that, what is obtainable in the country is not good enough. It’s a message to our best hands to go abroad to practice. It’s a message to our future professionals to find something else to do. It’s a message that those who might be thinking of it should not come to this country if they want the best medical service. It’s an awful demotivation! It’s an ugly dent on a brand’s image!

So, if on becoming a medical doctor in the future, my president would not patronize me or my colleagues, may be I should think of something else (hopefully not crime) or join those in the diaspora once I am qualified.

What do you think?

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