BEFORE COVID-19, medical tourism was Nigeria’s responsible pleasure. An ambiguous sick rose coveted by the ruling class and privileged segments of the citizenry. Its a cavern of the unseen, the place deathly instruments manifest poor healthcare and secret crimes of black market operators comprising quack medical doctors, organ harvesters and traffickers.
Figuring out this, President Muhammadu Buhari urged Nigeria to wean her coronary heart of lusts for medical tourism overseas as Wordsworth urged England to wean its coronary heart from toxic meals in ‘October,’ a sonnet of 1803.
Like Wordsworth, Buhari waxed lyrical, urging Nigeria to shun patronage of abroad healthcare. Powerful luck, Buhari; Nigeria is on her knees, enraptured by illusions, she sucks from the flawed spigot.
Poor healthcare corrupts nature. It violates the bodily and psychic frames of its victims. In the end, it kills. Talking on the Second Nationwide Well being Summit of the Nigeria Medical Affiliation (NMA) in Abuja, in November 2019, President Buhari, represented by the well being minister, Osagie Ehanire, highlighted its risks, stating that medical tourism would cut back if Nigerian hospitals provide high quality service.
Apart from costing the nation a whopping N400 billion yearly, many threat falling sufferer to organ thieves and traffickers. In addition they endure publicity to quack medical doctors and substandard healthcare.
Merely put, embarking on medical tourism overseas was akin to hopping from a frying pan into the hearth, typically. Image Nigeria because the frying pan, how scorching does it get?
Only recently, images posted by a sure Sawaba FM Hadejia, generated buzz on-line as they purportedly reveal the surprising incident of a surgeon performing an operation on a significantly injured affected person on the hall of the Hadejia Normal Hospital, Jigawa, with a torchlight, on account of energy failure.
The imagery manifests as a tragic commentary on Nigeria’s comatose well being sector the place hospitals are understaffed and medical doctors carry out surgical procedures utilizing torchlight on account of frequent energy cuts.
However, President Buhari restated his resolve in his new yr speech, to proceed reforms in water sanitation, schooling, and healthcare sectors. He confused his authorities’s liaisons with worldwide companions equivalent to GAVI, the vaccine alliance, and the Invoice & Melinda Gates Basis to entry assist for his social welfare initiatives.
A couple of months earlier, Mr. President stated there was an pressing want to handle mind drain within the well being sector. He stated the Federal Authorities wish to dialogue with medical doctors and nurses, “to check methods of retaining our expert workforce, skilled at nice expense to the state, as decided by the Postgraduate Medical School.”
Maybe he really meant effectively. However Mr. President’s “candid” and maybe heartfelt homilies deflected the ethical questions triggered by substandard healthcare.
It parries disconcerting queries arising from inadequacies of medical initiatives thus establishing the nation’s healthcare system as a significant index of rising inequality, social injustice, profligate governance, a depressed economic system, political corruption, and maladministration.
However, Buhari persuades citizenry of means to ditch abroad healthcare and patronise Nigeria’s inadequately funded and understaffed public well being amenities or relatively, the extortionate personal hospitals usually manned by poorly skilled workers.
Extra considerably, he mocks the destiny of the poor, unemployed plenty, whose unhappy destiny it’s, to wither and die on the deathly corridors of public well being centres. Some could encounter a conscientious, diligent physician, who would pull all of the stops to accord them a semblance of passable healthcare occasionally. Oftentimes, they gained’t.
But well being indicators decline within the absence of aggressive interventions to cease the medical mind drain. The Nigerian Medical Affiliation (NMA) estimates that of the 75,000 medical doctors registered within the nation, about 40,000 apply exterior Nigeria. Within the UK alone, it was estimated that 12 medical doctors from Nigeria are registered each week, with greater than 5,250 Nigerian medical doctors already working there.
The proposed 2020 price range of the Federal Ministry of Well being was N427billion, which quantities to about 4% of the price range. That is regardless of a 2001 pledge of 15% of the nationwide price range in the direction of healthcare by member nations of the African Union at a gathering chaired by Nigeria.
In sharp distinction, Rwanda has risen from the ashes of its genocidal previous to evolve probably the most sought-after healthcare system in Africa. The nation’s price range ensures that the well being sector will get over 20 p.c of funding juxtaposed to the Abuja declaration of 15 p.c.
The World Well being Group regards international locations with lower than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 individuals to have an “inadequate” variety of medical personnel.
Thus Nigeria’s doctor-patient ratio estimated at 1:6000 is regrettable when in comparison with the ratio of doctor-patient in India (1:2083) and in the US (1:500).
Presently, lower than 5% of Nigerians are coated by the Nationwide Well being Insurance coverage Scheme (NHIS).
Federal response to the anomalies has up to now, being feeble. If Buhari means effectively, can he vouch for his kitchen cupboard, the legislature, and medical vacationer governors? Can he present over 190 million Nigerians or thereabouts how his administration cuts again on frivolities and tames the profligate lusts that drive public officers to hunt medical care overseas?
The nation’s poorest are worst hit by the state of the well being system as major healthcare centres (PHCs) lie comatose from insufficient funding, lack of kit and medical personnel.
Enter COVID-19 and Nigeria enjoys donations from presumably well-meaning politicians and company residents. Whereas we commend the generosity of donors, Nigerians mustn’t ever shy from probing the standard of the donors’ citizenship as public officers and company residents.
What are their antecedents in public area? And why are the donations supplied in eggshells of narcissism and artifice? Of the company donors, Nigerians should ask, “What’s the precise nature of their company citizenship and social accountability past the cloud of conceit and doctored media stories?”
There are truths that no diploma of spin by Public Relations items of presidency and massive enterprise may stifle. It’s noteworthy that Nigeria is on this present mess as a result of earlier and present public officers, governments and company companions failed woefully in addressing the issues of the well being sector.
It’s sheer chicanery for a governor or lawmaker to donate half of his wage, understanding it represents a minute fraction of his undeserved month-to-month take residence.
Contemplate the curious case of a lawmaker, as an example; if hypothetically, a senator’s wage is about N750, 000 monthly, and his sitting allowance is N13 million monthly. By declaring half of their salaries as donation to battle the pandemic, every could be donating N375, 000 to the trigger.
It might make higher sense and manifest as worthy sacrifice if they provide up their outrageous and undeserved N13 million sitting allowances for the remainder of the yr.
How grateful ought to Nigeria be to a political donor who has taken extra from the individuals than he has ever given to them. How grateful ought to we be to a company donor whose entrepreneurial exploits has impoverished a number of communities and destroyed massive swathes of land?
A number of the donors represent the rationale massive segments of the citizenry cry out to God at evening; by their exploits, Nigeria suffers neutered goals and the escalation of citizenry deaths, from nightfall via daybreak.