In Nigeria, only the rich have access to proper healthcare even though we are made to believe we stand as equals in the society.
The Nigeria we have today is no longer working for majority of Nigerians. What we need is a Nigeria where government invests in the health sector for the benefit of Nigerians; a Nigeria where the poor masses can access proper healthcare.
The health sector is one of the most important sectors in any country. In many hospitals in Nigeria, citizens are subjected to gross extortion- this can include paying for fuel, water and electricity. In most hospitals, there are issues of doctors refusing to carry out surgery on patients when necessary unless a deposit is made.
We do not need a Nigeria where maternal mortality is rising due to poor health infrastructure. We do not need a Nigeria where unrealistic demands are made before the commencement of treatment in our hospitals. What we need is a healthy and productive Nigeria.
We need a new Nigeria, one devoid of several health challenges; a Nigeria where the wellbeing of citizens is paramount. As the saying goes, health is wealth. This implies that health is the most valuable and precious aspect of the life of every individual. It is imperative, therefore, to have a healthy environment and healthy citizens, which guarantees the progress of the society and country at large.
It is time to usher in a new Nigeria where we prioritise health and wellbeing of citizens; a Nigeria where health workers are appreciated. It is time to invest more in the health sector. It is time to have well-equipped hospitals and medical practitioners who know their job.
A healthy citizenry is a healthy and wealthy nation. Therefore, the Federal Ministry of Health, and relevant government agencies and civil society organisations, should work together to ensure a national work plan is put in place to address the various health challenges confronting the country.
One of the major issue such partnership should address is the quality of food available to Nigerians. We no longer need processed imported food which are dangerous to our health.
To achieve the health needs of Nigerians, the government must invest in agriculture. Good food is needed for the good health of Nigerians. Our population grows by 2.5% annually which means that Nigeria will be over 400 million in 2050. We need a strong agricultural sector not just to feed the growing population but to provide employment. We are endowed with favourable climate to ensure food sustainability and development.
The environment as it affects health and vice versa is another delicate issue. Environmental pollution has become the order of the day. The release of toxic substances into the atmosphere and unhealthy sewage disposal polluting the air are leading to the declining health of citizens.
We need a clean Nigeria free from environmental pollution and vector borne diseases. We need to address the lawlessness and lack of regulation in the disposal of refuse.
We should make health everybody’s business.
It is the obligation of Nigerians to put in effort in ensuring cleanliness in their immediate environments while government provides the facilities to ensure effective management of the environment.
We want a Nigeria where vaccination is available to all citizens who need it. We want a Nigeria where adequate healthcare comes before any other thing! We want a clean Nigeria free of diseases! We want a Nigeria with healthy citizens!
ORJI COLLINS IFECHUKWU
NIGERIAN CHILDREN’S PARLIAMENT (ANAMBRA CHAPTER).