Poverty, starvation, copious carnage, violent terrorism and a host of others maladies continue to threaten our existence time and again. From our parturition to our formative years, even till after we become senior citizens, death is always on the hunt, seeking to be entertained of us. Friendships have been sabotaged, families traumatized, neighbours massacred and our streets have been made desolate, all because of the unfriendly visit of the cheapest commodity in Nigeria today, ‘death.’ Security of lives have rose significantly to become the trending ruse of the 21st century, as it is crystal clear to everyone that nobody is safe. This of course cannot be unlinked firstly to the mere fact that we in this part of the world are allergic to the truth and secondly to the untold realities that we have forsaken important spheres of our existence such as our health sector.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The health sector on the other hand is the part of the society that basically deals with health related issues, or that provides health care services for members of the public. In Nigerian today, the health sector in terms of ownership is broadly divided into two; there is the private health sector, which is of course owned and regulated by private individuals or groups – the capitalist and there is the public health sector, which is owned and managed by government. Given the importance of heath as enunciate in the expression, “health is wealth” it is no gainsaying that the health sector is one of the paramount sector in every human society. Therefore, it should be the goal of both citizens and government to ensure the effectiveness of this sector.


From the realities of what seem to always be the norm within the Nigerian health sector both private and public, it appears that both have conspired together to ensure that Nigerians do not live as long as they should. The private health sector for example is nothing more than a capitalist venture, established for making financial gains. The cost of seeking private healthcare services have led to an ungodly marginalization of the masses who are relatively too poor to afford the exorbitant fee of a private hospital. In addition, private hospitals often fail to provide the much need qualitative medical care and are also confronted with the problem of employing enough medical practitioners, especially when the anticipated level of profit is yet to be attained.

The public health sector on the other hand is in a more deplorable state, it has been ravaged and drastically reduced to a public abattoir by the filthy hand of politics. Government decides what goes into the sector in terms of funding, equipment and to a significant extent, even in terms of workers. This of course have cursed the sector with grave and heinous consequences such as poor funding, inadequate provision of facilities or equipment and to a large extent have severely increased the percentage of incompetent health workers. Nigerian hospitals are fond of placing adverts enlightening the general public on how to put an end to malaria by avoiding mosquito bites and making their environments free of mosquitos. Ironically, each time you visit these same hospitals, you will be taken aback by the enormous presence of mosquitos in what is supposed to be a hospital.

Cases of health workers, particularly doctors embarking on industrial action is no longer fashionable, as it have already become a regular routine in the sector. On the 12th of January 2015, Junior Doctors in the United Kingdom embarked on a 24hours strike, which they have not done in about 40years before. The 24hours industrial action nearly became a source of social disorder and generated severe debates in the parliament. In Nigeria however, doctors go on strike for much longer periods, yet the society appears normal and no one seems to be concerned. As a matter of fact, doctors embarking on industrial action is remarkably responsible for the death of many innocent Nigerian, who were unable to get medical attention because doctors refuse to work.


Employment of health officials, which supposedly should be based totally on merit after a meticulous selection process have been crippled by corrupt fingers of politics. Little wonder incompetent officials easily find themselves in the sector. The case of a senior medical practitioner in Lagos who was discovered to have used a certificate belonging to someone else to get the job remains fresh in our memories. Imagine the number of lives he must have massacred before answering the vengeful call of nemesis! The equipment and facilities that are found in public hospitals are mostly archaic, out of use and relatively inadequate. In simpler words, they are more or less machines for killing rather than saving lives.

Furthermore, many public hospitals are merely drug prescription outlets, with little or no drugs to administer to patients. Some hospitals on the other hand have expired and at times fake drugs, which they administer to credulous citizens, who in their desperate search for healthiness unfortunately encounter death. Reports of government clinics collecting undue money from patients continue to filter the air, yet little is done by government to check this excesses.

The many inadequacies of the Nigerian Health Sector have significantly promoted medical tourism among Nigerians who can afford the high cost of seeking medical assistance abroad. Statistics shows about 30,000 Nigerians spend a billion dollars on medical tourism per annum. If Nigeria’s health sector can be made to stand on its fit, Nigerians will not have to spend a fortune seeking health assistance outside the country. In addition, the use of traditional means for resolving health issues, which is often accompanied by a host of hazards will be drastically reduced if owners of private heath bodies, health workers, officials, relevant stakeholders and the government can come together and brainstorm on how to mitigate the many challenges of the Nigerian health sector.

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