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Strident reactions trailed my March 2nd column, “Jinx of poor healthcare in Nigeria,” where I stated that the healthcare system in Nigeria is fundamentally flawed due to decades of neglect and absence of corrective measures; and the sector needs urgent attention. I beckon the policymakers with the expertise in health to do their job in order to remedy the terrible and deplorable situation. Also, I strongly stated that the system is dreadfully defective to the extent that the leaders, as well as the political elites themselves do not have any confidence or faith in the healthcare system in their country.
Thus, if the quality of medical care in Nigeria had been adequate, there would be no need for any medical tourism to India, America, and European countries. Nigerian leaders go abroad for their medical needs because they don’t trust the medical care they would receive in their own country. Perhaps, since the leaders could afford the expensive medical trips to abroad, the neglect of the Nigeria’s healthcare system would continue regardless of the consequences to the nation.
In the same vein, I said in the piece that most hospitals in Nigeria are not equipped with modern life-saving devices. Ergo, all too familiar horror tales of healthcare system in the country where Nigerians would go to various hospitals for minor and controllable illnesses and would end up in the morgue are becoming too uncomfortable to many Nigerians in America. It’s alarmingly scary and more uncomfortable with the realization of the fact that the healthcare system in Nigeria is not equipped to deal with present and future challenges. Life-saving medical devices abound in hospitals and medical facilities around the world. Unfortunately, medical facilities in Nigeria are generally devoid of such basic life-saving medical devices like Heart Defibrillators, Holter monitor, and Bronchoscope, which is used to perform Bronchoscopy. In his reaction, Jerry Ken Ike from Grand Prairie, Texas said, “Dr. Acho Orabuchi, you cannot say it any better; healthcare system in Nigeria is inundated with too many problems which includes but not limited to unrestricted and unethical practices by doctors, Government lackadaisical attitude towards healthcare, ignorance, socio-cultural issues, fake drugs, affordability, incessant strikes by health care workers for non-payment, and so on.”
Chief Ike stated, “In most developed countries, doctors are allowed to practice after 3 years of residency after medical school (people go to medical school after graduating first from the university) whereas in Nigeria doctors are allowed to practice after one year of internship after medical school.” “This results in the roll out of too many half-baked or unqualified doctors that are not well groomed to practice in Nigeria,” Ken Ike said.
Chief Jerry Ken Ike continued, “Once these group of doctors get into the system they believe they can effectively practice every branch of medicine. You can see one doctor practicing as a cardiologist, a nephrologist, a surgeon dermatologist, a pediatrician, anesthesiologist. Bye the way my friend’s mother died of overdose anesthesia. One thing that is mind boggling about this whole thing is that no one is ever held accountable. These doctors seen to be sacred cows. No one checkmate them. Top government officials and politicians simple don’t care about what is happening to our health care because they have the funds to always rush overseas for medical treatment just like Mr. President is doing now. Our people are so ignorant that they swallow everything these doctors tells hook, line and sinker without questioning.”
In his conclusion, Chief Ike said, “The government is not doing much to control the influx of fake drugs into our country; there is no way you can achieve the treatment of any disease with a medication the manufacturer has lied about the percentage content of the essential ingredients.”
Similarly, Prof. Charles Mambula reacted, “The deplorable state of the Nigerian Healthcare system is sad; the healthcare system in Nigeria by every indication is third world standard.” Prof Mambula alarmed, “In spite of the large budget and funds from donor countries and organizations, there is nothing to be proud of as most of the resources are flagrantly embezzled by certain group of people, who run the affairs of the Ministry as personal property.” Prof. Charles Mambula strongly opined, “It can be observed that the staff at the Federal ministry of health in Nigeria, seem to have more interest in spending time and energy with public sector shenanigans than in demonstrating medical expertise, that they have been trained for; and therefor, attention and concern of the Health of Nigerians had been replaced by selfish interests of those who run the Ministry of Health at the Federal level.” He continued, “The non-effective performance of the healthcare system in Nigeria is the responsibility of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, which operates like a cabal of medically trained but non-practicing, lackadaisical wheeler dealing civil servants, who are motivated by greed and self-aggrandizement.” Prof. Mambula sadly expressed, “It has been reported that some of them are among richest civil servants in the country; even when great ideas are presented to enhance the health benefit of the people of Nigeria, those ideas are only hijacked for the monetary benefits that can be derived from them.” Prof. Charles Mambula is demanding an investigation. Mambula said, “The Federal Ministry of Health immediately after Prof. Olatayo Lambo left office as a credible minister need to be investigated and brought to order; the Ministry has been notorious for hijacking intellectual property from foreign professionals for their own personal and selfish reasons.” In his conclusion, Mambula said, “Unless serious attention is paid to that ministry, the standard health care that the citizens deserve in Nigeria, would not be attained. It’s sad that only about 36% of Nigerian women have access to proper health care system.”