Africa is estimated to have lost billions of dollars in one year on medical tourism abroad according to a report by Uncova.

The continent keeps exporting money and patients to Europe, America and the Middle East.

Why are people of power flying overseas to seek medical attention at the expense of a crippling local health system?

Uncova reports that Africa spent over USD$6 billion on outbound treatment in 2016 with Nigeria being a major contributor.

Its citizens spend over USD$1 billion annually on medical tourism.

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Arguably, private citizens opting to seek medical assistance abroad may not be a source of worry because their expenses are catered for by themselves.

However medical tourism among Africa’s political elite is a completely different bone of contention since they are responsible for the development of proper health care for the citizens of their countries.

READ ALSO: Why 'ailing' African leaders won't open up about their health

It is public knowledge that politicians across the African continent travel abroad for medical treatment. The reasons for exercising this choice are obvious: they lack confidence in the health systems they oversee, and they can afford the trips given that the expenses are paid for by the citizens in form of taxes.

It’s estimated that in Uganda, the funds spent to treat top government officials abroad every year could build 10 hospitals.