Did you know that Mrs Victoria Gowon delivered her first child at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital when her husband Gen. Yakubu Gowon was head of state? (Fact culled from Olaboludele Simoyan’s Over 50 Good and Interesting Things you need to know about Nigeria)
I was gobsmacked when my eyes came across that. In my head I thought: “It’s a lie! A Nigerian President let his wife give birth in a Nigerian hospital?”
I couldn’t believe it. In recent times, once a Nigerian president sneezes, they’re out of the country. Are our hospitals that bad? Whose fault is it?
Every year, millions of Naira are allocated to the health sector. Let’s count from the year democracy landed in Nigeria, the year 1999, I’m sure what’s been allocated to the health sector has run into trillions of Naira. Ok, I might be exaggerating, but you get my drift. The money is huge. If this is true, then why can’t we boast of one world renowned health facility operated by the government?
The first thing that comes to mind is the corruption in the land. There’s a medical centre in Aso Rock and they keep allocating money to that.There’s even a National hospital in Abuja. Yet, our presidents love to pack up their aides and everybody else they need and spend millions of our tax payers money, carrying everyone from here to there, lodging and feeding them for days, weeks, months till they return. Let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands of foreign currency they have to pay to the hospitals where they are treated. Looking at the current exchange rate, and trying to make an estimate of that sum in Naira is pissing me off. That’s enough money to buy equipments for our hospitals here. That’s your money o.
Some would argue that it is because our doctors are not competent. Excuse me, our doctors are. I’m not referring to medical students and house officers still undergoing foundational training. Well, every doctor keeps training even after becoming consultants. I’m referring to the overly qualified senior resident doctors, consultants, Professors, H.O.Ds and all doctors who have specialized in one field or the other in our teaching hospitals and attend to thousands of patients, train other upcoming doctors but sadly don’t have the equipment and infrastructures they need to operate effectively.
The doctors aren’t the only important people affected by the lack of equipments and infrastructures; we have nurses, radiologists and many more great health professionals who can’t function well.
It is either the money got missing before it trickled down to the hospitals or the CMDs have siphoned the money.
Ever asked why doctors’ always go on strike?
It’s either they’re being owed (don’t let me start with their laughable health hazard allowance) or they’re protesting that our hospitals need better equipments and infrastructures. Some hospitals are still using equipments from the military regime; some don’t even have the most basic of medical equipments. They don’t go on strike for their selfish interests. Yet, our presidents and leaders do nothing and keep using our tax money to travel and treat themselves.
If the fear is that our doctors aren’t competent, why not pick the best from different specialisations and send them abroad to learn from the oyinbo people you like getting treated by send them back after training? How about some exchange program, or an arrangement with a renowned teaching hospital abroad to send resident doctors, consultants there to learn from them? How about setting up a body and making them monitor what’s been bought in each government hospital every six months? Let the body, make sure the equipments are up to date, working, etc. It would make everyone sit up.
I think it is a huge insult to the most populous black country in the world, the giant of Africa that our presidents and leaders sing and cry patronize made in Nigeria but they can’t sit here and be treated by Nigerian doctors in Nigerian hospitals like me and you. Do the foreign doctors have two heads or is it just the mentality that foreign is better? Are you saying we don’t have reputable doctors here?
If you are a president, a governor or in some position of authority, why not do something about it? If you feel all doctors are quacks and our hospitals are deathbeds… Do something about it early and not when you fall sick. You decide to travel abroad and waste money, my money, our money, that can be used to provide better health for the masses on your selfish self.
Isn’t a leader to lead by example? What example are you showing us by sinking the message into our heads that something is wrong with our health sector and yet, you do nothing about it to help us? Lead us by example by getting yourself treated here. Have the courage and faith in Nigeria and teaching us to do the same by having that operation of yours here. If need be, fly the doctor you need in but use our hospitals.
Is it a show off? You’re trying to tell us that you are above us? You, dear leaders should be ashamed of yourselves. Yes, you should be ashamed by leaving us with deathbeds, hospitals with no equipments, dilapidated infrastructures and running away from your land, your country to another man’s land to be treated. Shame on you all!
I dream of a Nigeria where the fact I just read wouldn’t be worthy of being recognised as a fact, but a normalcy. I dream of people of neighbouring countries and countries faraway coming here to enjoy our health facilities. I dream of a time when our tax money will be used here, and not used to boost another country’s economy. I dream of a time when our rich, our leaders will be confident in our doctors and our hospitals and happily stroll into one to get treated. I dream of a time when our presidents will sneeze and stay here to treat their sneezing.
Thanks for reading my thoughts. What are yours?
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