PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari sought medical treatments abroad because Nigeria is not secretive when it comes to issues relating to one’s health, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has said.
Giving instances to back up his point, Mr Adewole used the health information of Yusuf Buhari, the president’s son to illustrate further.
With that in mind, the minister said it was obvious that the privacy of a patient could easily be compromised in the country.
Adewole stated this in an interview published by Thisday Newspaper at the weekend.
“You have forgotten that as our president, he is also an individual. Unfortunately, we still, as a country, we cannot handle information. The president’s son was operated; they said he was dead. You see, it is a strange country; and so, we do not respect people’s right to privacy and confidentiality. We also have no respect for doctor-patient relationship,” the minister said.
However, he stressed that the president’s preference for foreign medical care was not an indictment of the nation’s health system.
He also said President Buhari was committed to uplifting the sector to a standard that every Nigerian would be proud of hence his insistence that his son be treated in the country.
“The same person who went abroad was the same person who said, let my son be managed in Nigeria. I was at the centre; people said let the boy be flown abroad. The president said no. All he asked was, ‘Can they manage him in Nigeria?’ I said, yes, and he said, ‘Go ahead,’” Adewole said.
“He is committed to improving the health sector, and working hard to make it something everybody would be proud of.
“But you know doing this would not happen overnight,” he added.
Buhari, who returned from yet another medical sojourn abroad on Friday night, had been under intense criticism for failing to disclose his ailment while using public funds to seek medical help abroad even as public health institutions are down on their knees.