The case of the missing bride


Missing bride?

Yes…the bride in the health sector has to be the patient. The person who it is all about, the centre of attraction.

The absence of concentration on the best interest of the “patient”, or “the population in implementation of health policy and health projects in Nigeria is a central concern to Nigerians, especially Professor Adetokunbo Lucas (Former Director of the Special Programme of Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization in Genevaand Professor of International Health at the Harvard School of Public Health)

Professor Lucas made the case made eloquently
at a recent conference on health in Nigeria; Nigeria: Partnership for Health.

In most other countries in the world the PATIENT is central to health policy. Whether it is about the basic package of care that is guaranteed, the waiting times before treatment, access to life-saving medical interventions, or vaccination coverage …the PATIENT is always central to policy.

In the past 10 years of renewed democracy in Nigeria, this has sadly not been the case…buildings and professional interests have been central to our health policy. We are either building primary health centres or we are renovating teaching hospitals. We are either suppling CT scanners or MRI machines. We are in and out of strikes defending our professional interests. Even in the appointment of the last Minister of Health; the debate in the public space was whether it should be a “doctor” or a “pharmacist”.

Picture: New hospital in Bayelsa State

Where is the patient in all of these?

This will be a central theme of the next series of posts on Nigerian Health Watch. Where does the patient fit into the thinking of our leaders in the health sector.

We welcome your contributions!

Today we will start exploring several stories in our dailies. I will not comment further on any of these. Read them as written by those affected…personally affected. It gives you a glimpse into their reality…

How the Health Care System in Nigeria killed my Sister
I arrived in Nigeria on the 30th of January to be greeted by a deteriorating airport with no usable lavatory facility. I proceeded do my usual running around, transact some business, visit family and friends but unfortunately decided I was going to see my baby sister at her doctors office at Onikan, Lagos. Little did I know I was never going to get a chance to see her ever again. Details on

Nigeria: Abandoned and Deserted Patients – Luth Groans
THEIR situation is pathetic, their condition is pitable. Scattered all over the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, are patients of all types and of every category. Adults and children; male and female or young and aged. Details in the Vanguard

A Struggle to Stay Alive
The doctor said I need more than three million Naira to do the operation overseas. Now I am appealing to Nigerians to assist me. My father died since when I was eight years. My mother has been carrying the burden of my life. I don’t want to die. Details in Thisday

Citizen Bello and Nigeria’s healthcare system
The death of Mrs. Ajoke Bello who was recently delivered of sextuplets and two of the babies has not only brought to limelight again the poor child and maternal health records in Nigeria, it has also exposed the general decay in the country’s healthcare delivery system. 32 year old Mrs. Bello who was successfully delivered of sextuplets through a Caesarean operation (C-section) died at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State 24 days after being delivered of the children. Details in th
e Financial Standard

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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