We must face the future with courage…

We have been quiet on this blog for some time. We write about the health sector in Nigeria.  It is tough because there is rarely good news. The map below is a bit dated but shows where most of our challenges lie with all the health indices in Nigeria. It is also no news to you that this has become one of the most violent regions in the world at the moment. When the next bomb goes off in Yobe, Adamawa, Kano or Bornu….we hardly blink. Its …same old, same old. I recently spoke to a class mate and colleague working in Kano – an orthopedic surgeon. He is struggling with several patients from the most recent Kano bombing. Distraught ….he could not bring himself to say how bad things were. He has become numb. Managing a single patient with 3rd degree burns is traumatic in our setting, to manage tens of patients, most of whom will die, causes pain beyond words. Medical school did not prepare us for this he told me…

DPT3 Vaccination Coverage – 2007

I think about the few doctors still working in the North East, or the nurses. I wonder how many of those deployed under the much taunted Midwifery Service Scheme of the NPHCDA were still there, or how many NYSC doctors accept their postings to Maiduguri. I wonder where mothers give birth and how. Who does the caesarean section when indicated or manages the other complications of pregnancy. Who carries out the blood services, the emergency care? When at the end of last year a report described Nigeria as the worst place on earth to give birth; it barely made the news in Nigeria.

Yet our country is in the news every day. It is said that we will become the largest economy in Africa very soon. The richest African is Nigerian, the richest black woman, “owner” of a lucrative oil block – Nigerian, fastest growing market for private jets – Nigeria, booming real estate market…yes you guessed it; Nigeria. Rich Nigerians carry themselves with pomp! Giants of Africa…..

Yes, we have been writing about the health sector for many years – and as we read through our archives, we realize that nothing really has changed for the better. So, in addition to writing, we will do our bit. We do not think we can change the world, definitely not the world around Nigeria, but we will find our small niche and give it the best shot we can. You can too!

And…we will not give up on the blog. It may be slower than usual, but we will keep it going. And if you really want to keep your finger on our pulse, join us on Twitter @nighealthwatch.com

For Nigeria – the next few years will take courage….lots of it.


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 (www.epiafric.com), 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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