Comfortable and not-too-comfortable Nigerians buffeted by one sickness or the other have found a new haven in India. These Nigerians who are battling different health challenges regularly troop to the country in search of succor. Investigations conducted by YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine revealed that Indian hospitals and their doctors have been joyfully pocketing millions from this. A patient who just came back from treatment told us that ‘nearly all the hospitals in India have been taken over by Nigerian patients – which is a sign that our health system is seriously collapsing’.
The patient added that these Nigerians come there to treat majorly kidney problems, hole-in-the-heart, invitro fertilization and so on. “Of course, our people are rushing there for two reasons – they have a better medical system; that is one and the second one is that their fees are not as expensive as that of the other countries like America and United Kingdom”.
All the airlines that go to India, the country and even their High Commission here have been making a kill. Expatiating on this, another source added that having discovered the goldmine in this, some smart alecs have now elevated the game. “These days, they bring the Indian doctors to Nigeria to attend to some of these patients who can’t foot the bill of going all the way to India, plus their accommodation and flight.
“Some of them woo these patients with bulk SMS. The one I got was from 5031. And the message was: IMTD and other leading Indian doctors are offering FREE medical consultancy right here in Lagos. N10/SMS. For details now, reply to this SMS by sending YES”. Their adverts also dot the pages of some of Nigerian dailies. The only sore point, however, remains how the Indian High Commission, on Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos is treating some Nigerians who are still bent on journeying to India for their treatment. Some of them, in their poor health, are sometimes abandoned at the gate by the security men from 9am till they could wait no more. “One old woman, very ill, on Friday, August 30, 2013, was kept at the gate from 9am till 12.45pm. And I understand that that is a regular occurrence there.
Unfortunately, I also heard that over 60 percent of Nigerians who apply for visa to India are going there for one treatment or the other. As a result, getting a visa to the country is now so difficult. Some even die on their way to India or even before their visas are approved.
“A visit to the High Commission will shock many. You can’t help but be moved to tears after seeing the health condition of some of these people queuing up for visa to travel for medical attention. Yet in that poor condition, some of the security agents assisting these Indians sometimes manhandle them, which I think is very, very wicked. But it is not their fault. The fault is that of the Nigerian government. If they had made our health system okay, what will our people be going to do in India or even queuing up at their High Commission? So, sad. It’s just so sad”. Former AGN (Actors Guild Of Nigeria) President, Prince Ifeanyi Dike, it would be recalled, was one of the celebs that visited India years back for a kidney transplant. He’s since returned and is doing okay. When contacted on Thursday, September 26, 2013, to share his experience, he said the High Commission shouldn’t be crucified. “My only advice to them is that the biometrics is sometimes stressful for those who are very ill and if possible, they should be exempted from that. Or better still, another way of doing that should be found”. We also called the High Commissioner, Mr. Mahesh, who asked us to send him a mail. But at the time of going to press, there was no reply.
NB: First published November 2013
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