Information is Power


by chikwe ihekweazu

A few years ago…I walked into the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja in search of a specific report. After spending an afternoon being sent from pillar to post, I gave up. At the time…there was no library, no depository for the hundreds of reports written yearly on different aspects of health in Nigeria. Written by NGOs, development partners, states, consultants etc etc. No database of what has been written, where it is located…nothing! Bowed and subdued in shame, I accepted the sad reality of the institutional memory that is being lost . Thinking about all that can be done these days with so little resources. All it takes is the recognition of the need…and the barest minimum of skills and resources. But therein maybe lies the problem. It cannot be solved by awarding a contract as we tend to do in our beloved country

Of course…all that could have changed since. We might have a library in the FMOH, easily accessible to Nigerians. We might have a directory. We might even have online access to this directory. IF YOU KNOW…pls share this with us!

…until we hear from you…this blog will be posting not just news stories, but reports and research published on health and health care in Nigeria.

Find a sprinkling below, courtesy of Health, Education, Social Protection News & Notes, a bi-weekly newsletter supported by GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit). An excellent resource. To subscribe, write to

A new study titled – Computer use among doctors in Africa: Survey of trainees in a Nigerian teaching hospital shows that in Nigeria’s premier and largest teaching and research hospital, the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, …38% of the respondents could not use a word processing software while 87% could not use any software for basic statistical analysis.

As the authors rightly conclude medical practice requires the use of computers for support in information processing, decision making and records keeping…we need to catch up with the rest of the world. FAST…

An interesting and thought provoking assessment of TB policy in Bangladesh, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Thailand has just been published by the Open Society Institute.

Nigeria ranks fourth on the World Health Organization’s list of TB high-burden countries and has the highest TB burden of all African countries.

TB/HIV coinfection has made detection and treatment of TB even more challenging. Despite these alarming facts, TB awareness among political officials and health workers as well as the public at large is low, and this contributes to widespread misconceptions about TB and stigmatization of the people who have the disease…

Interesting statement of services in Nigeria

“remove the donor, and everything would crash”

The Open Society Institute works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens….something we desperately need in Nigeria. It was founded by investor and philanthropist George Soros in 1993 as a private operating and grant making foundation.
The lead researcher on this was Olayide Akanni, of Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) in Nigeria
More on TB in Nigeria here, here and here

Another thought provoking report titled Reproductive Health Knowledge and Practices in Northern Nigeria: Challenging Misconceptions by Pathfinder International questions all you pre-conceptions on knowledge and attitudes to child spacing, breast feeding and HIV/AIDS in Northern Nigeria.

We hope this has wet your appetite. But the success the depends on YOU. Lets find the reserch papers, reports, recommendations. Lets put them in the public domain. Lets ask the hard questions! Information is Power!

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 (, 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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