Sani made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shortly after he inspected facilities at the National Ear Care Centre (NECC) on Monday in Kaduna.

"Medical tourism by the political class has destroyed our public health system. Our elites spend more than $1.5 billion annually seeking medical attention abroad.

"Nigerian elites are the ones sustaining hospitals in Germany, India, Egypt and Dubai, among others, due to the state of our medical facilities.

"We do not patronise our own public hospitals due to lack of facilities. Federal Government must address this to reduce the amount of capital flight, which is adversely affecting our economy,’’ Sani said.

Sani, also Senate Chairman Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts, had during the inspection, urged officials of the centre to forward an elaborate budget in the 2017 appropriation for consideration.

He pledged to ensure that adequate funds were allocated to the NECC in the 2017 appropriation for the facility upgrade to meet global standard.

"That would attract patients with this kind of cases from Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin Republic and others to come for treatment in this country.’’

He said he was at the centre, located within his Senatorial District, to acquaint himself with the challenges being faced by the federal institutions and establishments.

"The Ear Care Centre is an important health institution for the society, but many people are not too aware of the facility, while others do not have the ability to be attended to due to other reasons.’’

The senator commended the management for the good maintenance of the available facilities in the centre and pledged to ensure that funds were released for necessary upgrades.

Earlier, Dr Aminu Bakari, Medical Director of the centre, said that the institution, established in 1999, had so far trained over 500 health personnel in various aspects of ear, nose and throat treatments.

Bakari said that the centre was ready to partner with the federal government in training specialised nurses for the proposed 10,000 Primary Health Centres (PHC) to be established across the country.

He said the training would expose community health extension workers to provide patients with ear, nose and throat challenges with basic services.

The official commended the lawmaker over the interest he has for the centre and pledged to deliver on the mandate of the centre.