Medical laboratories, health care infrastructure …and update on the strikes


The delivery of laboratory services has witnessed a lot of activity recently. The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR)’s HIV testing and Tuberculosis reference Laboratory has received ISO certification for quality management and services. Kudos to Prof. Oni Idigbe, NIMR’s Director General…who has raised the profile of the institute considerable since he has been in charge.

A similar laboratory for tuberculosis drug research and treatment, funded by the U.S. Government, was commissioned in National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development.

Other infrastructure donations…China continues its charm offensive in Africa and offers to build and equip a comprehensive hospital in the Abuja metropolis to be donated to the Federal Government of Nigeria…

Lagos State Government builds a four-storey building ward complex and dental centre at the State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. The dental centre includes a recovery room, dental laboratories for making dentures, panoramic X-ray with two mobile X-ray units, 10 offices for doctors, among others. The most important aspect of this story is that it seems to be part of a comprehensive four-year infrastructural development plan for its health sector.

While we celebrate these…realise that in the health sector in Nigeria, we often emphasize large infrastructure projects (think VAMED…think Primary Health Centres). When it comes to health…infrastructure is a necessary step…but only a first one. Now lets make these work for the people.

…update on the strikes
Different reactions to the strikes in hospitals across the country…In Jos University Teaching Hospital it is reported that 60 members of the striking resident doctors were sacked, with private and faith hospitals bearing the burden. In Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital the strike has been called off. The CHAMPION reports that following efforts of the technical committee set up by the Federal Government to review a better welfare package for doctors, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) yesterday extended its earlier ultimatum which expires tomorrow to a new date, March 28. Nigerians hope for a resolution…noyt just in the short term…but in the long term. What no one wants to see are strikes by pharmacists, nurses, etc etc …leading to further frustration for the patients.

Patients…remember them? …it is amazing how little they seem to feature in the public utterances of those negotiating conditions of services from all sides…


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.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. In the early days during Olikoye Ransome-Kuti’s time as Health Minister, I remember vaguely that there were a lot of patient welfare issues raised with the “Head of State” then, IBB. Your closing remarks suggest that these days the doctors simply want “more” for themselves and that the most important people in the equation have no say. That may be the case, however in the long run any improvement in service conditions would eventually reflect on quality of care and the patient would benefit.
    M.Osita Nwaneri

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