Tuesday, 26 March 2013

We must face the future with courage...

We have been quiet on this blog for some time. We write about the health sector in Nigeria.  It is tough because there is rarely good news. The map below is a bit dated but shows where most of our challenges lie with all the health indices in Nigeria. It is also no news to you that this has become one of the most violent regions in the world at the moment. When the next bomb goes off in Yobe, Adamawa, Kano or Bornu….we hardly blink. Its …same old, same old. I recently spoke to a class mate and colleague working in Kano – an orthopedic surgeon. He is struggling with several patients from the most recent Kano bombing. Distraught ….he could not bring himself to say how bad things were. He has become numb. Managing a single patient with 3rd degree burns is traumatic in our setting, to manage tens of patients, most of whom will die, causes pain beyond words. Medical school did not prepare us for this he told me…

DPT3 Vaccination Coverage - 2007
I think about the few doctors still working in the North East, or the nurses. I wonder how many of those deployed under the much taunted Midwifery Service Scheme of the NPHCDA were still there, or how many NYSC doctors accept their postings to Maiduguri. I wonder where mothers give birth and how. Who does the caesarean section when indicated or manages the other complications of pregnancy. Who carries out the blood services, the emergency care? When at the end of last year a report described Nigeria as the worst place on earth to give birth; it barely made the news in Nigeria.

Yet our country is in the news every day. It is said that we will become the largest economy in Africa very soon. The richest African is Nigerian, the richest black woman, “owner” of a lucrative oil block – Nigerian, fastest growing market for private jets – Nigeria, booming real estate market…yes you guessed it; Nigeria. Rich Nigerians carry themselves with pomp! Giants of Africa…..

Yes, we have been writing about the health sector for many years – and as we read through our archives, we realize that nothing really has changed for the better. So, in addition to writing, we will do our bit. We do not think we can change the world, definitely not the world around Nigeria, but we will find our small niche and give it the best shot we can. You can too!

And…we will not give up on the blog. It may be slower than usual, but we will keep it going. And if you really want to keep your finger on our pulse, join us on Twitter @nighealthwatch.com

For Nigeria - the next few years will take courage....lots of it.


Hassan Adele said...

We have to start thinking outside the box, with regards to providing medical personnel. Nigeria will never have a enough Doctors to cater for its needs. We need physician extenders that can do the work. Why not train midwives to perform ceaserean sections?Maybe Nigeria will not be the worst place to give birth. I learnt a lot from surgical assistants as a copper. They should be given some more training and allowed to do minor procedures under the supervision of a doctor.

Nneka said...

Your article is very insightful, and thank you for once again raising such a pertinent issue. Nigeria is indeed in the news alot recently for both positive and negative reasons. One being our rising GDP and the fact that it will soon surpass that of South Africa. Politicians can therefore pound each other on the back, confident now that Nigeria is the "Giant of Africa". Quite frankly all this remains meaningless when put in the context of the basics that every society should have. Where is the investment in education, healthcare, infrastructure . This is where it really matters...however, we as active citizens do not hold our government to account, and herein lies the problem. Until that time comes when we collectively as one country demand more from our governors and policy makers, it will be business as usual

Chuma Onyejizu said...

It takes a lot of courage to work well as a medical personnel in Nigeria.
I have helped in managing patients from varied economic backgrounds - from those who fly to London in a matter of hours after we give them their diagnosis to those who cannot afford the needed IV antibiotics.
I pray that God grants us all the strength to continue this work that is dear to His heart.

Ikenna Emeghara said...

You dont have to look too far for answers to these problems. They have assumed a dimension that is indeed very difficult to address.

The core psychological make up of the people particularly looking at their perception, aspirations and values have unfortunately been all eroded. With the misplaced priorities, salience is given to very superficial indices of well being...material riches! As such, there would hardly be a place for allocation of the countrys resources to infrastructure that would foster the growth of the real indices of "wealth" (education, health etc.) The environment is not enabling for those with even the best intentions so I can totally relate with you colleague.

Greed, selfishness and a lack of love of humanity are at the root of our problems. I marvel at the skewed distribution of jointly owned resources in Nigeria. I keep asking my self this question...Why would one person own an oil block??? No logical answers come to mind.
Violence and blodshed are now an active part of our electoral process making way for hooligans to rule. It inturn keeps the elite who can bring about any real change out of the equation

The truth is that the moral fabric is eroded across all ages. The core of the existence of that society has become totally wrongly programmed and unfortunately, evil is quickly drowning the good elements of that society. Given this, Maybe the only message that will go down will have to be radical....Rawlings in Ghana did produce results under similar circumstances!