Crisis in the health sector – but who cares?

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We have spent the last few months in the Nigerian press quarrelling about “zoning”. Almost no airtime is given to the issues that challenge our country. The political landscape appears to be an issues free zone. Even at the best of times, health hardly makes it on the political agenda. I have often wondered what it will take for people to demand better health care the way they demand for roads and electricity (not that it has made much of a difference yet). What will it take? We have some of the highest health indices in the world, our politicians keep running to foreign hospitals, yet nothing changes. Health is just not on the agenda. 

As you might know, in parallel to this blog we “tweet” health stories out of Nigeria via our Twitter page @nighealthwatch. Last year doctors in Lagos State were on strike for three and half months’old strike. For three and half months all public health facilities managed by the Lagos State government were closed to patients…3 and half months!

Since January we have seen stories of strikes from all over the country. So we can conclude that in terms of the distribution of strikes in our country “zoning” is truly dead. Maybe this is the reason it is not on the political agenda. If people are treated equally badly, our politicians are unable to make political capital out of this.

If you have missed the articles please read them and hold your politicians, government and doctors to account. If you don’t….people will die. Most importantly at the moment …go out and register to vote!

Osun State….

Abia State…

Nasarawa State…

Oyo State…

Cross River…

Enugu State…

Kano State…

http://www.nigeriahealthwatch.com/

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (www.epiafric.com), which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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