Wednesday, 18 May, 2022

thenewnigerian

The Conversation: The Health Care System in Nigeria


Ahmed: In view of health care in general, patient education is getting better, but we are not near where we should be. Any conversation about change in Nigeria will include a change of government. The current system of governance has failed ordinary citizens let alone patients. Education around the importance of human rights, health, and less of religious rights is key. Accountability is also important, politicians are civil servants and not demi-gods. Power should be returned to citizens at home and abroad.

Adegoke :  I do agree that a change in government is necessary, but the change must be the right change. I think the first thing is to have people who care, build a critical mass of these people who care enough to intervene in education and healthcare which will lead to social change.

Emeka: I agree 100%, It is important that we are preparing people for leadership and understand that leadership in-service education is key. We need to tailor our education firstly, to meet our needs and develop so that it can adapt to change. Education is definitely key.

Ahmed: Maybe those of you guys in the diaspora should start a movement to give Nigeria a healthcare system that is free at the point of delivery, just like the NHS.

Emeka: My honest take is that we put the right people in place to run the educational system in Nigeria. Just look at what is happening right now. How do you tell students to resume after staying away for four months and give them only two weeks to prepare for W.A.E.C. We need to re-organise ourselves in the diaspora especially. There is so many human resources to leverage off and I feel they are just wasting away.

Emeka: Terrible!!

Adegoke: A Nigerian NHS will involve the government. If people can get access to adequate healthcare, they can focus on other things and help the economy grow in retro too, and enlighten patients in the process.

Emeka: Wasn’t surprised at what happened. Nigerian officials have a habit of making decisions without giving enough notice or a reasonable time for adjustment. But on the other note, there is enough money in Nigeria to fund a Nigerian style NHS, maybe a viable strategy is missing?. Access to health care should be the responsibility of the government with the private sector giving support, not really the other way round.

Adegoke: But Emeka, health is expensive, which is why the government should be involved in ongoing conversations and especially in keeping patience up to speed with progress of systems being developed and or already in place that they might not even know about.

Tobore: We cannot really wait for politicians, they are not there for the people on many levels at the moment. Nigerians need to change Nigeria, not politicians. We don’t always have to copy other health care systems, we can put ideas to strategize and tailor a healthcare system to meet our needs as a unit. A collective.

Emeka: Just going back a bit, I don’t particularly think it is about copying other health systems. Sometimes it is about identifying what is working elsewhere, and then modify it to suit local needs.

Ahmed : I agree, That’s exactly one of the packages that a charity organisation is putting together to roll out next year, covid-19 permitted from the UK there. So this can easily be an alignment if we push to collaborate, right?

Emeka: yes, indeed, I also have got a suggestion for charity and grant funding, but health education and patient voices are very important. It seems not much is done in sexual health to empower patients especially with the holistic treatment of HIV. I want to contribute by responding to what we are doing to close the gap in rural education so I propose we continue this weekly, “somehow”. The power of stigma, shame, denial and discrimination has made health care difficult  and we need policies that will ensure that lives are not placed at risk due to red tape or poor training of medical staff in social welfare.

Ahmed: We need to Just do it. Together we will succeed, no need for silo talks, let us get and speak truth to power, yes a weekly angle might help unlock well-needed value. At this point in time the crucial things for citizens I feel is to find ways to assist each other and even assist the government too, its about going back to UBUNTU. Pushing to ensure we are because we are .

Adegoke: Very well said, Ahmed. Government policy to involve diaspora in terms of knowledge transfer which will benefit in saving life and cost on health care. We just need a solid platform to help amplify this narrative, don’t we? One to push the knowledge and expertise required. This like first aid for instance is a must in terms of rollout.

Emeka: Exactly, other things like teaching CPR as well, lest we forget we have a high rate of HBP and heart attacks too. I guess we cannot ‘crowdfund’ society out of bad governance, healthcare systems, and education. People have been volunteering and creating these programs and policies forever. I feel we need a new “paradigm” if we are to make a serious dent in the problem. A novel way of alignment and thinking!.

Ahmed: Well Emeka, I will be very interested in that initiative, because it aligns with the work of a foundation I know of!  Essentially what we need now are social entrepreneurs with a workable business model that makes people the lynchpin of that model. I am referring to the healthcare system. Maybe there should be a Registry of these Initiatives. This Register can be the Patient Voice coming out of Diaspora? It is the ability for us to join hands and unlock all the valuable success.

Adegoke: We should also look at training, apprenticeship and internships. Courses can be designed and made available via this platform if the alignment is right. Career and educational path (after secondary school education), as not everyone is suited to institutes of higher education and research like Universities, Polytechnics etc. Community putting funds together to help themselves in their Local government. (have an internet hub) in their community. So the internet becomes a key tool in realising a lot of this laudable suggestions. Awareness creating now becomes a reality. so much work to do!!. But I believe in Nigeria and Nigerians.

Tobore : Guys be on the look out for LIONS ROAR sponsored by Osiri University (www.osiriuniversity.org), where African entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas, get feedback, and get funding  depending on the quality of the ideas.

Adegoke: It seems everyone is doing their own thing in silos, as Emeka said, so what you get is a shotgun effect that scatters and disperses efforts, rather than a laser focus that is more penetrative and impactful. Perhaps we need to consider a Diaspora Collective that serves as a clearinghouse for the various initiatives and serves as a larger body to interface with citizens and the state. This I believe is inevitable anyway so course and educational online institution ideas must be amplified to ensure the required levels of support are attracted to this kind of project.

Ahmed: There is always a huge value in visiting schools and encouraging people to go into medicine to avoid shortages of doctors and nurses? Key specialist roles within the health sector can also contribute back to the society by giving some time to hospitals when they go back home to educate and help the local hospital around them, as well as the people. This is highly welcomed by local hospitals, as well as the state governments back home. We have many doctors and nurses in Nigeria. The question of keeping them in Nigeria arises constantly in view of perceived struggles.

Adegoke: We need Counsellors to help drive that narrative too and equipment must be available to enhance envisioned training, Mental health awareness is needed.  Many hospitals in Nigeria are run down so badly it is so demotivating. For me the solutions should centre around :

  • the provision of standard facilities in Government hospitals across Nigeria.
  • Teaching staff best practices at the least
  • ICT
  • Closing the learning doing gaps

Ahmed: Well said Adegoke, the mental health awareness and education is needed at this global challenging time. Let’s do this again next week as it seems this topic releases a lot of value.

Tobore: Not a problem fellows, happy you guys were part of the CONVERSATION, that really is the whole point of this.

Have a great week ahead!

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