Most Nigerians find it difficult to visit a doctor for a medical check-up. They do so only when they are sick. GABRIEL EWEPU in this write-up examines the factors that are responsible for this negligence among Nigerians.
As far as the issue of medical check-up is concerned, it has been at the back burner in the habit of most Nigerians. Medical check-up is a thorough physical examination. In essence, it is a variety of medical tests depending on the age and sex and health of an individual over a period of time. Indeed health is wealth; healthy people are productive and performance-driven. Most people in Nigeria do not place high value on their health as a result of many factors, and their productivity and performance are affected negatively.
The death toll among Nigerians as a result of undiagonised and preventiveable diseases is becoming worrisome. Many Nigerians are living ignorantly with life-threatening ailments. The only way to detect or prevent such ailments, which include cancer, hepatitis, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, high blood pressure, heart diseases, septicaemia, tuberculosis, and such like from damaging their health is medical check-up.
Unfortunately, ignorance is part of the poor health care habit among Nigerians, especially the rural dwellers. The health institutions are yet to aggressively carry out public enlightenment on the need for this.
Some Nigerians are aware of medical check-up but do not deem it necessary, because they feel they too busy, and that it is expensive. Others do not include it in their budget, because they believe it is waste of resources. Some people cling to religious beliefs on divine health, others on the fear of being diagnosed of terminal diseases, while some people are indifferent about it. Most of these factors have increased the occurrence of high blood pressure, hepatitis, cancer, stroke, ulcer, and other killer diseases.
The concern of most people is about food being on the table, therefore no provision is made for medical check-up.
Medical check-up as a cardinal health matter is also handled with levity by the government and the private sector.
Some corporate organisations have also failed to adequately cater for the health needs of their workers as far as human resources management is concerned. Most staff are weighed down with the burden of stress and other life-threatening ailments, because they could not offload it through necessary medical check-up.
LEADERSHIP went to town to gather the opinion of some Nigerians on the issue.
Mr Ikegwani Chukwuma, a computer analyst and social commentator in his assertion said that most people in Nigeria are living below the poverty line, and cannot afford to pay for a medical bill. “Poverty is a major factor responsible for most Nigerians not being able to visit the hospital for medical check-up. Some of them know the importance and need for it, but is not easy finances wise to routinely carry it out. Another issue is the lack of awareness and illiteracy. Also there is gross inadequacy of medical facilities across the country. With the increasing unemployment, retrenchment and poor remuneration, people do not care much about their health until are breakdown.”
Arc Ugwuchukwu Nwokoye believes that majority of Nigerians have a poor culture about health matters. “We have not formed medical check-up as part of our health habits. Most of us wait until when there is some sort of health calamities. Besides, generally, we fail to place medical issues as our priority, because of the money involved,” Nwokoye said.
Mr Etefia Godwin, a media executive spoke on the affordability and other economic challenges. “The reason people don’t go for medical check-up is traceable to affordability of the bills. It all boils down to poverty. Others don’t go because of their religious beliefs. While some people feel they are too busy for it, others do not give attention to it,” Godwin stated.
Mr Oyinkru Abazi Appiah, a civil servant said most people feel it is too expensive and is for the middle class. “They don’t know that some government hospital check blood pressure free of charge.
Others are ignorant about it due to poor public enlightenment. It is very necessary for us to go once in a while for a medical check-up.”
Medical check-up has its benefits when it is planned for, adequately provided for and practised:
• It helps to tell the need to pay attention to any medical conditions or possibly a change in the way you eat.
• Early detection of diseases- Going for a medical check-up can help detect diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes. Early detection enhances the higher chance for survivability.
• Early treatment- There will be early treatment for any serious disease. Diseases like cancer, diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure can be detected and given early treatment to prevent it from spreading and further than they have to.
• Prevention- Medical checkups help prevent health problems that may have arisen, because the doctor will tell you what to avoid and how to keep fit which will help your future health. Prevention is not only to avoid anything bad from happening, but enhances healthy living if you apply preventive measures.
• New medical information- There is the opportunity of being informed by the doctor on new medical innovations, technology, discovery of diseases, treatments, preventions, drugs and others.