Healthcare Nigeria: Lack of Coverage
According to the founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, only 3% of Nigerians have adequate healthcare coverage. When people suffering from infectious diseases can’t get help, they stay sick for longer periods of time and infect the people they come into contact with. As a result of low coverage, doctors easily get overwhelmed by outbreaks and often come down with deadly illnesses themselves.
Healthcare Nigeria: Ebola outbreaks
In 2014, 120 healthcare workers in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone died from Ebola. Equipment shortages, low funding, staff shortages and exhaustion were some of the factors that allowed Ebola to affect doctors and nurses. Unless Nigeria allocates more money to its healthcare programs, the country will continue to be haunted by the threat of outbreak.
Healthcare Nigeria: Low pay and widespread corruption
According to a story from The Africa Report, health care workers often exploit sick people and demand money from them before allowing them to get treatment. In 2013 a corrupt nurse demanded money from the husband of a pregnant woman to pay for a blood transfusion. The husband– a man by the name of Benson Okomika– tried to argue that the transfusion should have been covered, but the nurse would not back down. The husband borrowed some cash from a friend, but by the time he made it back to the hospital his wife was dead. Part of the reason why healthcare workers resort to extortion is that their salaries are very low. Corruption will continue to be a problem so long as doctors and nurses are overworked and underpaid.
Healthcare Nigeria: Ignorance among hospital staff
Many nurses in Nigeria are ignorant about basic medical facts. In rural areas, ignorance runs rampant concerning patients with HIV or AIDS. One anonymous patient from Delta reported that it is not uncommon for HIV patients to get yelled at just for accidentally touching a nurse.
Healthcare Nigeria: Fake drugs
In Nigeria, lack of funding has led to some hospitals selling fake drugs to patients. As a result, many Nigerians have died from diseases that could have been treated if they were given real medication. Often there is no way to tell if a drug is authentic or not until it is too late. Until the peddlers of fake drugs are brought to justice, there is little that can be done.
Healthcare Nigeria: Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
During the dramatic ebola outbreak of 2014, heroic Nigerian doctors and healthcare professionals stepped up to the plate to combat the deadly disease. Some particularly heroic doctors and nurses put their own lives at risk just because they saw someone who needed help. If the good people working in the Nigerian healthcare system receive an adequate amount of help and support from the government, the healthcare situation in Nigeria will improve.