As you read this, health workers in the country have been on an indefinite strike for weeks now, their issue? Same as always, in a nutshell, the government has refused to honor agreements entered into to better the lots of these health workers and the health sector at large.
According to statistics, there are roughly 35,000 practicing resident doctors in Nigeria (aside other health workers), with a population of 180m people, that translates to one doctor to 5,143 persons. The world health organisation’s (WHO) standard is 1:1000, which means that the Nigerian doctor is over burdened by an extra 4,143 persons.
The problem is not even the number of resident doctors we have in the country, the blood cuddling problem is the issue of massive brain drain in the health sector. Each day there are doctors who leave this country or are planning to. The sector is no longer healthy for them as their welfare and safety is no longer guaranteed.
Funding and the judicious use of this funds are a snag to the growth and development of the health sector. In spite of the funds budgeted for the state house clinic, the wife of the President once said there were no drugs there!! This is a scary reality. Now if the state house clinic whose budget is more than that of any teaching hospital can suffer this fate, ordinary hospitals will just be a sorry case, a death trap even.
The poor woman in Kaura nemoda stands the risk of losing her child to malaria, the poor farmer in Lokoja will probably go blind with river blindness, the helpless Fisherman in Brass stands the risk of dying from fever all because they can’t access good and affordable healthcare on time. One so called leader somewhere on the evil food chain of corruption must have appropriated funds meant for primary health care centers to himself and his cronies leaving the poor masses at the mercy of the elements.
As a direct fall out of the dilapidated and almost comatose health sector, there has been a massive brain drain, an unfortunate but booming medical tourism industry and sadly, needless deaths of Nigerians occasioned by this ugly reality that we live in, a reality that we as a people have resigned to. Isn’t it particularly embarrassing that the number one citizen of our nation has become a regular customer of this booming medical tourism business? Isn’t it sad that our political leaders (both appointed and elected) and the elites are the one fueling this raging inferno of a business? Having super-intended on the common patrimony of Nigerians for years, overseeing all sectors especially HEALTH, they still don’t patronize our health centers.
They ran the health sector aground by misappropriation, embezzlement and outright stealing of funds meant for this sector. The truth is they don’t care, public office to them is a means to plunge their hands into the till and help themselves with monies not theirs. As far as the have access to foreign medical care, the Nigerian health sector can burn to ashes.
These crop of leaders are not fit to continue holding public offices. They have shown their utmost disdain for the health of the common man on the street. They should be shown the way out!! Yes they should. It’s a battle for the soul of this nation and the youths can’t fight these battle with folded arms. We have to arm ourselves with our PVCs, identify the right candidates that can be held accountable for every action and then vote for them to bring about the desired nation we have always dreamt about. The power is in our hands, let’s use it.