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Opinions of Monday, 31 August 2020

Columnist: Bilyaminu Gambo Kong-kol

Nigeria and the health sector

Health, they say, is wealth. Better health is a key to human happiness and well-being. It also makes an important contribution to economic progress, as healthy population lives longer, is more productive, and save more.

However, Nigeria’s health care system has been under poor condition for decades. This has exposed Nigerians especially the poor to hardships. Many have died due to the deplorable nature of the health care system of the country.

The novel Coronavirus has uncovered the poor health facility in the country which has been crying for attention for over a decade.

It could be recalled that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, had decried the poor state of Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructure in April 2020. Mr Mustapha, who is also the chairman of the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19, said he realised how bad it was after he was appointed to head the team.

He also noted that the pandemic has provided the opportunity to examine the state of the national health care system which is in dire need of reforms and funding; he said the weaknesses in Nigeria’s health system became more glaring given the way more established health systems in Europe and America collapsed under pressure.

Findings revealed that the challenges of the health care system in Nigeria include: inaccessibility of quality health care, poor hygiene, maltreatment of patients, corruption, malnutrition, lack of access to safe drinking water, poor health infrastructure, insufficient drugs, equipment and financial investment as well as lack of sufficient health personnel, absence from duty, and establishment of private hospitals by public doctors.

Therefore, Nigeria must utilize the opportunities brought by the COVID-19 to address all the challenges in the health sector. By doing that, the number of people flying abroad for medical attention would be reduced drastically. This would allow Nigeria to save more lives and our economy will be diversified in the shortest period of time.

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