"Good" health news out of Nigeria

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When we started this blog we regularly posted news stories on health out of Nigeria.

It was and is a difficult experience as there is hardly positive news to report. We hope that there are positive things happening and not getting reported rather than the lack of any positive activity in the health sector.

Yes…we do not have a Minister…


Yes…our President might have some health challenges…


But…this cant be the reason we can find only the following stories in the Nigerian press on health in Nigeria. If you do find positive stories…please send them in. We need them desperately. These are the ones we found….

1. Fire guts NACA headquaters in Abuja
“With the fire gutting most of the paper documents and stored data on the damaged computer systems, the fight against the AIDS scourge in the country may have suffered a terrible blow….”

2. Health situation in Nigeria getting more precarious -NMA Secretary
“Our health indices are among the worst in the world despite our endowments. In the 2008 state of the world‘s children report by UNICEF, Nigeria is pitiably ranked among the 12 countries with the highest under-five mortality rate. Highlights of the report for Nigeria include under-five mortality rate of 191 per 1000 live births, infant mortality rate of 99 per 1,000 and life expectancy at birth of 47 years….”

3. Hostility to polio immunisation persists despite rising cases
“Our health indices are among the worst in the world despite our endowments. In the 2008 state of the world‘s children report by UNICEF, Nigeria is pitiably ranked among the 12 countries with the highest under-five mortality rate. Highlights of the report for Nigeria include under-five mortality rate of 191 per 1000 live births, infant mortality rate of 99 per 1,000 and life expectancy at birth of 47 years….”No fewer than 578 Nigerian children are reportedly infected with wild polio virus cases across 23 states of the federation, a figure representing 88 per cent of the world polio virus cases.


BUT…..we also did find some “GOOD” news


Nigeria: Sokoto Sponsors Medical Training Abroad

Sokoto State government is sponsoring 30 of its students to United Kingdom to study medicine and pharmacy. Special Adviser to the Governor on Scholarship and Students Matters, Dr. Muhammad Ali Inname made this known while briefing newsmen in Sokoto. He said the state government had approved about N300 million as tuition and allowances to the beneficiaries drawn from the 23 local government areas of the state. Twenty of the 30 beneficiaries would study medicine while the remaining 10 would study pharmacy.

Nigeria we hail thee….

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.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. The “good” in the “good” news in the blog above is meant to be satirical…

    It cannot be GOOD news that we are spending so much sending students to be trained abroad when there are is little chance that a single one will come back…and there are over 20 medical schools in the country!!!

    This is no way to improve the health of the people. C’mmon..Sokoto state…who is thinking for you?

  2. I am not sure I agree with your definition of this news as good.

    The politics, and economics of governmnet sponsoring students to study abroad is as long as the country’s history, especially its violent chapters.

    A reason for the madness known as wild-wild-west in the 60s was because northern Nigeria was broke (see Ironside by Chuks Iloegbunam, and Blood on the Niger by Emma Okocha) and needed to control another region for pecuniary reasons, and it had to be the West after Okpara had started balking at lending the north any more monies.

    The north went broke principally because it was paying for its students abroad, while the east and mid-west (the two regions that were not in debt by 1966) insisted on parents/communities taking responsibilities for fees/cost while the government provided the social infrastructure in the form of schools, and universities.

    Also, the history of nepotism in Nigeria has roots in scholarship boards if above cited books are accurate, not forgetting the bribery and sharp practices that is the hallmark of big government.

    To quote a famous economists, if you want to get rid of the sand in the Sahara, just put the government in charge of that desert. Government is the most inefficient allocator of resources, especially resources like fees that are disbursed to faceless students (yes, we are all faceless in the absence of a unique identifier like national id card).

    Readers’ Digest ran a story of a man that has invested so much in training doctors in Congo-Kinshasa, the unfortunate story ended with Adam Smith’s basic definition of economics – selfish interest, no doctor will stay back in the Congo to earn $5k at best, even before you adjust for the hazards of living in a war zone, as against earning 20 times that in the West.

    Of course you guys know this better than I possibly can, and with the first step, getting out of the country, already taken care of for the “lucky beneficiaries” I will be impressed if the program achieves the 5% retention of the Congo experiment.

    How much is the government of Sokoto state spending on tertiary education, or even primary and secondary for it to allocate N300M to train a handful of medical personnel that contemporary history shows will not come back. The oil companies are complaining of students refusing to move back to work in the lucrative oil & gas industry, what program/incentives does this state have to persuade the “lucky beneficiaries” to come back besides cajoling, and implied but impotent threats?

    What about training these doctors in Nigerian universities, while sending already qualified doctors abroad for resident programs in identified field.

    I hate to be cynical, but I will bet my bottom Naira that this program is the last resort to settle some big men’s children that have failed in their bid to move to the U.K., when was the last time Nigerian state governments (almost all with their universities) send 30 students at N10M (~$85k) to study abroad when it pays qualified doctors only a little fraction of that?

    While we’ll like to celebrate any good news, this fraud in the making stinks already and can’t be termed one by any stretch.

    Keep up the good work, back to work for me

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