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The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Monday, said President Muhammadu Buhari and his medical doctors were the only competent set of people who could say why he (Buhari) was seeking treatment in a foreign hospital.
The minister said this in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Central Pharmacy Store and Maternity Building at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife.
He said the President might have travelled abroad as a matter of choice or on the advice of his doctors.
He said, “I won’t describe it as a large volume but we still have people travelling abroad. One, it is a matter of choice and secondly, there is what is called bonding between a doctor and his patient, irrespective of where the doctor is and that creates a problem; the patient may not want to see a new doctor.
“If a patient is using a particular doctor and that doctor is not around, he may likely wait. You don’t want to be examined by a new doctor, you don’t want to start all over again. It is one of the reasons and you can’t take it away.”
Asked if that was the reason the President travelled abroad for treatment, the minister said Buhari and his doctors were the ones who could answer the question.
Adewole said, “The President is the best person to speak on this; he is our leader and also a private citizen. He is entitled to make a choice which will be influenced largely by the advice of his doctor.”
The minister commended the management and staff of the OAUTHC for doing what he described as a wonderful job but he said their feats were largely underreported.
He had earlier promised the hospital to ensure the clearance of the two containers of hospital consumables imported by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, for the OAUTHC.
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Victor Adetiloye, had earlier appealed to the minister to intervene in order to redeem the consumables which he said were imported by the monarch for the hospital but had remained at the port because of waiver issue.
Adetiloye also called for the establishment of a radiotherapy unit at the hospital, saying the hospital had the best set of cancer experts and equipment but lacked radiotherapy machines to complement it.
The CMD stated that the hospital had routinely performed medical feats such as open-heart surgeries and kidney transplants which some Nigerians travelled abroad for, saying these surgeries and transplants were at low costs when compared with the costs obtainable abroad.
He also appealed to the Federal Government to allocate more funds to the hospital which he said was big enough to be divided into three teaching hospitals.
Adetiloye stated that the hospital was in a dilemma over how to take delivery of $400,000 worth of hospital equipment donated to it by a foreign organisation.
Meanwhile, Christians in Borno State on Monday offered special prayers for the quick recovery of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The prayers were coordinated by the Borno State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria and clergymen were drawn from various churches in the state.
Christians in the state had earlier been called to dedicate the day to offering special prayers and fasting to God to improve Buhari’s health.
The national body of CAN had last Friday, in a statement signed by its Director Legal and Public Affairs, Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel, called on Christian bodies and God-fearing Nigerians to declare special prayers for Buhari and the nation.
The Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, had also instructed the Borno State Ministry of Religious Affairs to write CAN requesting prayers for the quick recovery of the President in appreciation of his commitment to the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.