Why are we not all celebrating?

by ndubuisi edeoga

The National Health Bill finally came to life after a very long gestation…good…APGAR (used to assess children’s health imediately after birth) score on the low side…..still good!

Gushing with excitement I called one of my colleagues at one of our tertiary hospitals to learn more about this bill from the horse’s mouth……. “I really do not know much about this thing” …was his response.

That took the air out of my sail. I was already dreaming about calling all my relatives in Nigeria and letting them know about this great step forward for our health system and how they can be a part of it, buying into, contributing, just to be part of it.

Can someone tell me how this bill came to life when the major stakeholders “do not know much about this thing”…

What was it we said about collective ownership and collective effort…how do we “sell” this bill to our beloved patients if we “do not know much about this thing

The Bill is supposed regulate, develop and manage our national health system amongst other lofty goals. What is the role of the Nigerian Medical Association (I just paid up my dues up till 2011)? What is the role of our hardworking doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and other medical personnel? What are the roles of other leaders in the health arena. What is the role of the Ministry of Health? The House Committee on health? The commisioners of health in our states….

To ensure a better deal for our patients, that this bill is properly implemented, we all have a role. Health leaders, the NMA and all other health/medical professional associations and every one involved in the health care sector in Nigeria will have to step up to the plate if there is any benefit to be derived from the health bill…and NOW!

We will all have to pull together!

Why are we not all celebrating this bill? Can it be because very few people know about its contents? Very few know about the implications for thier health and health care? Very few know how it will affect thier lives…Very few..even among those that absolutely should know!

If our patients are going to gain from this bill, then we should quit viewing it as just a government thing, we should claim ownership and make sure we get the required purchase from all our long suffering patients.

We are not there yet, but we are on our way, I can see more hurdles on the way, but together we can make this work.

Else…all it will be is a piece of paper…The National Health Bill of 2008!


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

Discussion3 Comments

  1. Bravo on this article. It raises my exact question, what is in this bill? In general, why is it so hard to get information out of Nigeria and from our politicians? Getting information from the Nigerian government is as hard and painful as pulling teeth, the most basic of information is kept top secret. How can we get hold of our elected officials to find out what is in this bill?

  2. yes it is a big surprise that the stakeholders know nothing of this bill and what exactly the details of this bill are.

    it is disconcerting.

    Presently working with the WHO on assessing the opinion of the stakeholders on the bill towards their perhaps contributing and aiding its success and i’ve so far come up with nothing…

    i’ll be grateful if you do find someone who has an opinion on this thing …and can get back to me!

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