Strong words by the Minister…


“You are killing the patients and it is our duty to entrench discipline if our health system must go back to what it used to be.”

These were the very strong words of the Minister of Health, Professor Osotimehin at the inauguration of the Governing Boards of Federal Hospitals, Professional Regulatory Agencies, and other parastatals of the Ministry of Health in reported by the Daily Trust

Who was this directed to? The doctors and nurses paid to save our lives!

Finally….someone has the courage to speak out.

Try walking into a public hospital in Nigeria these days….one cannot help than to be shocked at how slow any one responds to anything. It really does not matter if you are bleeding from your aorta…nothing, nothing brings out the sence of urgency. Finally the gauntlet has been dropped.

…accusing them of habitually abandoning their patients for personal pleasures.

…government could no longer afford to sit by and watch health professionals in hospitals treat patients with ignominy for a job they had sworn to perform and were paid to perform.

…the insensitive attitude has led to many patients seeking alternative care to the detriment of the once-robust healthcare system in the country.

….We have come to a point where doctors on call are not just found; nurses do not perform their duties; and other health workers do not think that they have a duty at all.

… it is our duty to entrench discipline if our health system must go back to what it used to be.

…He challenged professional regulatory bodies to wake up to their responsibilities as the Boards should help hospital management take a new direction in healthcare delivery.

But finally…are these empty words or prelude to real change..only time will tell.

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.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. I’m surprised you found a picture of him. The first time I’ve seen one.

    We shall see what this Minister shall accomplish. I for one wish him and everyone the best of luck and hope to be of help however possible.

    Hope you guys are well.

  2. I will be the first to acknowledge that health care workers especially nurses and doctors regularly fail in their duties to the patient’s uder their care. The key issue in my opinion at the various hospitals is a lack of supervision and the absence of any hospital specified preset standards to be met. However, what strikes me is that every MOH comes into office and tries to give marching orders to staff in hospitals without looking into the root causes of the attitudinal problems in hospitals. Maybe they know why but insist on playing to the gallery.

Leave A Reply