Health they say is wealth. This saying is true! But how serious have we taken this issue of health? It has also been said, how you make your bed is how you lie on it.
How we value an issue determines how we handle it. Our health sector is at the verge of being destroyed and until the government takes a decisive action, it will be disastrous. No unhealthy nation can ever produce healthy citizens.
There was a time our health sector was working well. You just walk into a hospital and you will see how coordinated they were and how they will attend to you. Private hospitals were not an issue at all, and they were few. Drugs were available, services were rendered freely, and professionalism was valued. Everybody does his/her work well. Patriotism was at the forefront, but somewhere along the line we missed it.
Aside the nonchalant attitude of the government on health sector, the doctors played a vital role in destroying our health sector. Now I know you may think this may be a spurious allegation, but before you pounce on me, follow me gently. Now, if you have been going to the hospital you will agree with what I am about to tell you.
First, Monetary gain got the most part of them as against trying to save humanity. This worm has crept into their fabric to the extent that they forgot humanity and are hunting mammon! Secondly, they started diverting patients to their private clinics which they started or their colleagues’ clinics and hospitals as a result, they give little or no attention to the public hospitals which majority of the populace may enjoy: Also any good thing the government provides for the public hospitals, whenever it is convenient they divert to their private clinics or hospitals. This has adversely affected the public hospitals and ever since then, we have not recovered.
Government too was not helping matters. The culture of supervision and inspection died, where there is, it was not done sincerely but only ceremoniously. The inspectors usually do it for their pockets only: The infrastructure were left dilapidated without any attention; our hospitals now look like piggeries, everywhere smelling in a country God so blessed and endowed with a lot but leadership.
The way and manner our leaders travel abroad for medical checkups and treatment is a vote of no confidence on our health system; that is supposed to be fixed by them but shamefully, they abandon all that and pack our common wealth, I mean at our expense going to add to the wealth of other nations! What is wrong with? Why should our leaders always be going abroad for medical treatments when we have qualified doctors? Supposing those nations did not work hard to develop their health sectors to that standard, what would they have done? All they need to do their job effectively is to provide the necessary equipment for the job. But No! They prefer to travel abroad for treatment. Imagine President Donald Trump of America going to India for medical treatment! We need to change our attitude toward nation building. No one else will build our nation for us, it is only in Nigeria I know that you only renovate and clean your house when you are about to receive an important guest. This need to change: leaders are expecting the led to change when they themselves are not willing to change. A good leader makes an example and followers follow along.
In the 2016 budget, N3.87 billion was allocated as capital allocation in the budget for State Clinic which is more than all the federal teaching hospitals in the country yet; drugs scarcity hit the clinic last year. The President traveled to UK for treatment and as at the time of writing this article, President Muhammadu Buhari is already in the UK for another treatment. The question is how many people have access to the state house clinic? And compare it to the larger populace that cannot even afford ordinary Panadol. According to Vanguard, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu in a statement explained that the State House Clinic is not the President’s or anyone’s personal clinic but one which looks after government officials and others. According to him, increased spending on government health institutions in the current budget should be seen in the light of President Buhari administration’s plan to improve medical facilities at home, as well as discourage medical tourism by citizens which impact negatively on the country’s foreign reserve. These were the words of Garba Shehu ad verbatim! But what do we see? Well, I leave it there to judge.
My take on this is, if sincerely they want to improve government health institution to discourage medical tourism by citizens which impact negatively on the country’s foreign reserve, concerted effort should have been made to do just that. If that money is being put to use, it will be achievable, but until then, Mr. President has gone on medical tourism.
Now you can see why I said our leaders helped in destroying our health system! When are we going to get it right? Why should we be budgeting such huge sums of monies yet still go abroad for the same purpose? The answer is that, our leaders have passed a vote of no confidence on our health system, and secondly, because they can afford the medical tourism according to Mr. Garba Shehu not minding if less privileged Nigerians cannot afford it. As such, they have left us to our fate! It is now “To your tents O Israel!” It is a shame! A shame to any leader who allows such to happen during his or her regime. Leaders must know that God brings them there for a purpose and that it is an opportunity to serve the people of God. Therefore, in serving, serve well.
In conclusion, it is the obligation of every responsible government to provide social amenities such as roads, schools, hospitals, drugs etc., Any government that fall short of this is simply irresponsible. This is not meant to castigate the government but a clarion call to wake up to its responsibilities.