Who will save the health sector?

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From all indications, the Nigerian health sector is visibly struggling under the current administration. In addition to leading the fight to keep the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, among the lowest in the world in terms of prevalence and impact, the general attitude of this regime towards this so important sector is one of abandonment. tinged with oppressive antics.

Health is wealth. Any reasonable and sane government will regard the good reputation of its health sector as a priority. But in Nigeria, successive leaders at federal, state and local levels have ignored this factor even though it is central to the well-being of ordinary people who line up to vote for ruling politicians.

President Buhari, who took advantage of routine and expensive health vacations abroad at the expense of the Nigerian taxpayer, disappointed millions of ordinary Nigerians who hoped his campaign for ‘change’ in 2015 would spawn a government that would take the sector. social – especially health and education – personally because it has a direct impact on people’s lives.

What we have seen, instead, is a situation where, despite huge annual allocations, even for the State House Clinic at Aso Villa, there is nothing to show, as our leaders continue to benefit from it. excellent health care abroad and at public expense. .

The ongoing medical residents’ strike is just one of many departures by healthcare workers due to the government’s lack of interest in making our system work. Unfortunately, the problem is the same at the subnational levels.

Governments make deals with health workers and give up at will. Our doctors are among the lowest paid in the world. Some states even owe health workers months of arrears with no immediate payment plan, resulting in what medical circles call the “hunger virus”.

The government does not want to fix our broken health care system. Over the years, doctors and nurses trained in Nigeria have had to take their destiny into their own hands by seeking greener pastures abroad. This year the UK government has opened its doors to certain categories of Nigerian doctors to join their healthcare system. The government of Saudi Arabia brazenly carried out an open recruitment of Nigerian doctors in Abuja. Embarrassed by the number of doctors who responded and the outrage of the public, the federal government sent agents to the Directorate of State Services, DSS, to stop the exercise.

The search for people-centered leadership in Nigeria must continue. We have enough resources to rebuild our health and education systems, but unless we force our leaders to stay here and “enjoy” the same facilities that ordinary citizens are forced to live with, we cannot. maybe never fix the system.

As we face the start of a new election season, let’s avoid sentiment and seek competent, patriotic and empathetic leaders to mend Nigeria.


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