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Birth tourism affects Canadian health system

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By Mercy Kelani

Patients cite birthright citizenship as major reason for giving birth abroad.

According to a Calgary study, unpaid hospital bills of birth tourists could cost the Canadian system hundreds of thousands of dollars. A birth tourist refers to a non-resident of Canada who comes to the country for the sole aim of having their baby in the country without qualification for publicly funded health care. A Calgary obstetrician gynecologist, Dr. Colin Birch, asserted that the impact of birth tourists is mostly felt by cities with international airports. However, during the pandemic, when air travel was shut down, there was a noticeable decrease in the trend.

The Calgary study, co-authored by Dr. Birch, affirmed that there are many reasons why Canada is a destination for birth tourists. The retrospective analysis examined 102 women between July 2019 and November 2020. 77 percent of the patients emphasized birthright citizenship as their major reason. In Canada, anyone born in the country is granted automatic citizenship by the system. Nigerians marked one-quarter of the birth tourists, while travelers from Middle East and China ranked second and third most common respectively.

16 months unpaid fees to Alberta Health Services estimated $700,000.

Alberta’s health system and many others across the country is experiencing intense strain. This has made physicians question the impacts of birth tourism on the system. With the current healthcare system, there is a lack of space for accommodation of these tourists. The doctor further asserted that these people cause displacement of local patients, making them go through delivery in a different hospital with a different healthcare provider. Calgary has implemented a system that distinguishes birth tourists from other uninsured patients with the aid of a centralized triage service.

Currently, Calgary is the only city in the country that has attempted putting the situation into a process. Outside Calgary, doctors always have to attempt to recoup fees on a case-by-case basis. However, Dr. Birch’s research revealed that deposits are not always paid. The study also showed that unpaid fees to Alberta Health Services for the 16-month period of the research is an estimated $700,000; these are separate hospital costs. The number of non-residents who gave birth in the province multiplied by three between 2010 and 2016.

SOGC to form a committee to look into this type of tourism.

Andrew Livingstone, is Alberta Health spokesperson who emphasized the concern of the Albertan government on birth tourism and its impacts on Alberta’s health system and its residents. Majority of these tourists are non-vulnerable patients who have access to quality health care services in their resident countries, they are not refugees or asylum seekers. Livingstone affirmed that there would always be provision for emergency or urgent care but individuals who lack provincial health coverage would be required to pay.

At an SOGC conference in Banff, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) decided that further investigations are needed into these types of tourism. SOGC president and professor emeritus at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, Dr. Douglas Wilson, stated that the SOGC seek involvement in the situation and would be conducting research. To begin with, the society would form a committee to research on such tourism and related issues, while collecting data from the provinces.

Elimination of birthright citizenship as solution to birth tourism.

SOGC committee would look into some provincial and federal discussions. This is because while delivery is provincial, immigration is federal. A major concern that should be the focus of health care systems is ensuring safe care as majority of these patients have other health problems like diabetes and hypertension. As solution to birth tourism, Dr. Birch suggested elimination of such citizenship and implementation of a universal system, similar to Calgary’s, that would ensure collection of hospital fees.


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Ask Nigeria
Admin
8 months ago

Birth tourism affects Canadian health systemPatients cite birthright citizenship as major reason for giving birth abroad. – Express your point of view.

Last edited 8 months ago by AN-Toni
Abusi
Abusi
Member
8 months ago

Birth tourism has always been something that normally happen in the society. People leave their country to go and give birth in another country.

Adeolastan
Adeolastan
Member
8 months ago

If this stastic is something to go by,am sure Nigerians will be 70% of the population and this is so because the country is almost fail country which most of them believe if they give birth over there , their children will have better life.

Tonerol10
Tonerol10
Member
8 months ago

Many people will like to give birth abroad because of the birthright citizenship. Reason is better life abroad is sure than here in Nigeria due to poor and bad government

Haykaylyon26
Haykaylyon26
Member
8 months ago

People will go and give birth abroad in other to gain citizenship for their child so they can be benefiting from the country but all this are happen because of poor situation our country is in people will not have been leaving and give birth else where

Last edited 8 months ago by Haykaylyon26
Nwachukwu Kingsley
Nwachukwu Kingsley
Member
8 months ago

People leaving their country and give birth in another country is what really common nowadays that people partake in it, it will give opportunity for their child having citizenship in different country

Ultra0711
Ultra0711
Member
8 months ago

This is a Nigerians mentality and understanding for majority. They just want to born outside the country in favour of there children nationality.

Chibuzor
Chibuzor
Member
8 months ago

I don’t blame the people doing such act cause we all know the amount of opportunities that await them and there child there.

Iyanu12345ogg
Iyanu12345ogg
Member
8 months ago

I love how the need for birth tourism approached. It is important to know what impact(s) birth tourism on the system. The idea of implementing a system that distinguishes birth tourists from other uninsured patients is brilliant.

theApr
theApr
Member
8 months ago

Birth tourism is a system quite a lot of people have benefited from, especially Nigerians. Considering the benefits of automatic birthright citizenship, that’s enough thrill to be a part of it.

Adesanyaj72
Adesanyaj72
Member
8 months ago

The tourist enjoy the opportunity of giving birth to the country while the country suffer the brunt. The Canadian government will later step up to reduce this in the end.

Godsewill Ifeanyi
Godsewill Ifeanyi
Member
8 months ago

Its nice that the Canadian government wisely established a single triage facility to identify birth tourists and other uninsured patients.

Hassan Isa
Hassan Isa
Member
8 months ago

Its crazy that because the vast majority of these patients also have other health issues, ensuring that they receive safe care ought to be a primary concern and the primary emphasis of healthcare systems.

Tolaniiii
Tolaniiii
Member
8 months ago

The influx is too much and so obvious what there intentions are. When they put a stop to birth citizenship in the country the rate will drop.

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
Member
8 months ago

We are always misusing every opportunity given to us in this country, now Canada might start banning tourists from Nigeria. Sad

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
Member
8 months ago

It’s ridiculous that these Nigerians are forcing local patients to move away from their comfort zone and have their babies at a separate hospital with a different doctor.

Remi1
Remi1
Member
8 months ago

The fact that birth tourist are displacing the locals from getting medical attention is worthy of concern to the Canadian government. And I think their judgement is quite fair. Birthright citizenship is now eliminated

Christiana
Christiana
Member
8 months ago

It is becoming usual for women to go outside of their home country to give birth, increasing the likelihood that their kid may be able to claim dual citizenship.

DimOla
DimOla
Member
8 months ago

Birth tourism is a common thing around the world subject to the circumstances that allow the movement to another country that is prosperous and have freedom of expression. It is expected of Nigeria to be about 77% of those that move to Canada for birth tourism.

SarahDiv
SarahDiv
Member
8 months ago

With the critical situation in Nigeria, most pregnant Nigerian women engage in birth tourism because they want their unborn child to be delivered in the visited country inorder for the child to have birth right and privileges of that country.