Recently we reflected on the blog, why we started it, and why we have continued. Like some of you that know us, the idea for this blog started at a conference Ike and I attended in Arusha, Tanzania - TEDGlobal in 2007. It was particularly inspired by a talk Ory Okolloh gave on a project called "Mzalendo - Eyes on the Kenyan Parliament". Ory explained their mission as:
"we built Mzalendo to demonstrate that there is only so much bemoaning you can do about your representation." Mzalendo hopes to convince Kenyans - to engage with their MPs and current legislation.At the time, we had no idea on the power of citizen journalism. But, we quickly learnt about powerful blogs and blog aggregators around the world, and how they are shaping our world. We are trying to do the same for our health sector in Nigeria; to hold ourselves and our leadership at different levels of our health sector accountable to the Nigerian people by making information and our informed opinion more widely available in the public space. We do not pretend to have a monopoly of wisdom on the issues, but health is the one issue that we have earned a right to write about.
We have recently revamped the face of the blog, added links to important Nigerian health related websites and made it easy to follow th blog by RSS, email, facebook and twitter. If you are receive this by email, check out the blog at Nigeria Health Watch.
Recently, a friend of ours asked us sternly - "What is your business model?" Well, maybe one will emerge in the future, but for now this is basically a labour of love. We hope it acts as a small…be it a very small contribution to the state of affairs of the health sector in Nigeria. Recently, when we struggled to keep the blog going - I received a reminder from a friend, on a statement made by Barack Obama during the US election campaign....
I am asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington...I'm asking you to believe in YOURS." -We do therefore believe that by continuing to put critical health issues as it relates to Nigerians in the public space you can drive the change we seek in Nigeria. We believe that health has to be on the very top of the political agenda. We believe that our leadership has to articulate a vision for the Nigerian health sector, and be prepared to be held accountable for the delivery of that vision. We also know that the health sector is subject to significant information asymmetry i.e.- where one party has more information than the other about a transaction, therefore the ignorant party goes into the conversation from a position of weakness. This happens every day we face a mechanic with our car or a doctor with our illness. To redress this in-balance we seek to make as much information available to the Nigerian people on their health sector.
But to do this, we need your help!
Firstly send us your stories! Send us your stories on your engagement with our hospitals, clinics, or commissioners and ministers. Take pictures and videos on your phone. Share with Nigerians your experiences - joyous or painful on our health services. Please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org. (of course we will retain some editorial control and not publish any inappropriate material)
Secondly, share NHW on your social media networks, share by email, join the conversation on twitter and "like" us on facebook - re-tweet and link to our updates. You can follow us on twitter here and on facebook here
Join us in re-imagining the Nigerian health sector.
- As Franz Fanon said: “Every spectator is either a coward or a traitor”....