Physiotherapists ask – what about us?


One issue we find with ourselves; Nigerians; is our huge sense of entitlement. It is all pervasive. We always want to be recognised. This is the same in our percieved national identity as the so-called “Giant of Africa” and in our individual love for titles ….Chief, Professor, Doctor, Architect, esq, JP, mni, etc etc etc …we just cannot help ourselves.

This article in 234Next caught my eyes recently….

Physiotherapists ask government for better treatment

I naively thought that our physiotherapists were advocating for better treatment for their patients, for all the accident victims on our roads, for our stroke patients, and all the other challenges they face with the system…but no! That was really really naive of me….read what I found….

Nigerian physiotherapists have called on the government to give proper recognition to the practice in order to enhance the morale and output of practitioners. Speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy, on Thursday, in Lagos, its president, Adeoluwa Jaiyesimi, said physiotherapists in the country suffer discrimination.

Mr. Jaiyesimi faulted how senior officials in the health sector are appointed. “There are eight directors in the Federal Ministry of Health, and they are all headed by a medical doctor, except one,” he said. “That’s unfair. They are supposed to distribute the rest on a plurality basis.”

I could not believe what I read…of all the health problems relevant for physiotherapists in Nigeria, the president of their organisation found the apparent lack of representation of the profession among the 8 directors in the Ministry of Health as the one thing to complain about! The most important thing…the “Single over- riding Communications Objective” of his speech.

Maybe I am really naive, but maybe we all have a problem. Where do we get this sense of entitlement from? On what is it based? On the concidence of our population size based on the arbitrary delineation of our borders by our colonial masters in Berlin, or based on the coincidental finding of oil in 1956 in Oloibiri in the Niger DeltaWhat ever it may be… is a problem….a big one.

The earlier we can loose this sense of entitlement for a sense of responsibility for the people….the sooner we will find the change we so desperately seek….Our personal and collective interests are important, and that is what unions are there to fight for, but there must be more for a professional society to advocate for durings its annual meeting.

Honestly…there must be more!

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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