Buhari not first president going abroad for treatment – Minister

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the seeking of medical care abroad by President Muhammadu Buhari is not an indication that the nation’s medical sector has collapsed.

The minister stated this in Washington DC during his engagements with international media organisations, including BBC Radio and Television, Bloomberg and Politico.

Speaking with NAN after a separate interview with the three media organisations, Mohammed said the President had the right to choose his physician and “he is not the first head of state going abroad for treatment.’’

The minister is in the U.S. to meet with international media organisations and think tanks on the achievements of President Buhari’s administration and efforts made so far in tackling insurgency, banditry and all forms of criminality.

“As Minister of Information and Culture today, if I have had a history of using a particular Doctor in my life and I have confidence in him, I don’t think the fact that I am now a minister will change that.

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“Irrespective of the nationality of that Doctor, it is my personal decision to choose the Doctor to use

“Like I explained to them, he is not the only Head of State that has gone abroad for treatment.

“If Mr President has a personal physician for over 30 years, who understands his case and has been managing him, why will it be an issue of contention to seek medical attention from him.

“It will not be right to say that because of what people are going to say, he has to stay in Nigeria to seek treatment,’’ he said.

The minister berated those who were criticising the President’s action of seeking medical attention abroad, stressing that it was an inconsequential attempt to de-market him.

He said in spite of challenges, the nation’s health sector is not in comatose to warrant a vote of no confidence on the sector.

Mohammed disclosed that in spite of criticism of the sector, the World Health Organisation had rated Nigeria fourth in terms of the national response to COVID-19.

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He said the country attained the feat, notwithstanding the two pronged challenges of vaccine nationalism and hesitancy.

The minister explained that vaccine nationalism was the situation where countries like Nigeria were denied access to procure vaccines to administer to its teeming population.

“In countries where they have less population they have received tens of millions of doses whereas in Nigeria we have received just about eight million.

“This is a far cry from the 70 per cent population that we need to vaccinate before we can achieve herd immunity.“