What Are The Challenges Confronting Healthcare Delivery In Nigeria?
It is not a secret that medical tourism is one reason why foreign exchange leaves Nigeria. In 2013, a Business Day report revealed that 47% of visitors to India from Nigeria, did so for medical reasons. Not only that, they expended up to N41.6 billion on medical bills. Even the president spent about a third of his first tenure outside the country on grounds of medical tourism. Healthcare delivery in Nigeria has several problems. This article beams the spotlight on some of them.
Ironically, Nigerian doctors and healthcare professionals rank at par with their counterparts in most of the countries where Nigerians seek medical attention. Available records show they are in large numbers practicing in hospitals abroad, where they give good accounts of themselves. This fuels an increase in brain drain, as most of them have to go abroad to get exposed to modern medical equipment, which are lacking in Nigerian hospitals.
Problems Facing Healthcare Delivery In Nigeria
Corruption is the bane of the country's existence. Unfortunately, the healthcare sector in Nigeria is the third most corrupt sector in the country. Healthcare professionals are underpaid despite the tons of work they do. Officials steal free medication and sell to ignorant quarters. This corruption is responsible for drug abuse, as prescription drugs are sold without prescriptions.
Inadequacy of Modern Equipment
This is about the biggest issue with the Nigerian healthcare system. This is why medical tourism remains the only option for affluent Nigerians or patients in need of quality surgeries. Most of the incorrect diagnoses that medical practitioners make are for lack of modern equipment.
Society is rife with stories of medical negligence as the cause of thousands of deaths in Nigeria. From death via Caesarean Section to surgeries gone wrong, too many Nigerians are dying avoidable deaths. This has also contributed to our lack of confidence in healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
High Cost of Medicare
In Nigeria, quality medical care is expensive, and very few can afford it. Because of the poor economic situation, if people cannot afford medicare, they cannot go to hospital. They instead patronize herbal medicine vendors for relief to their ailments. In the end, they risk losing their lives.
According to statistics, in Nigeria primary healthcare centres do not get at least 20% of their medications every year. People have to travel from clinic to clinic to find a doctor with the right medicine. Moreover, lack of medicines leads to death of hundreds of Nigerians every year.
Ill-trained Medical Personnel
As a result of our decaying educational system, many of our medical personnel are not well trained. When they go abroad in search of greener pastures, they often have to brush up their education. Here however, the people suffer for their poor training with wrong diagnoses and wrong treatments.
Our healthcare delivery system has poorly paid healthcare workers. As a result, many are unmotivated and unenthusiastic about their work. They are more interested in finding better opportunities outside the country. A negative approach to work never yields positive results.
What's your experience with healthcare delivery in Nigeria? Share with us in the comments.