- Underpaid Doctors
In Nigeria, doctors and other health professionals are severely underpaid. Routine strikes disrupt the delivery of health services and lower the overall quality of healthcare. Because the government refuses to award Nigerian doctors with the salary they deserve, Nigerian citizens often have to resort to traditional medicine because they are unable to get an appointment with a professional doctor if a strike is on. Boosting salaries would give doctors a reason to stay in Nigeria. Too many good Nigerian doctors move to other countries to get better salaries.
In May of 2015, scam artist **names withheld** admitted to forging the medical and academic credentials that enabled him to masquerade as a doctor for 9 years. Ugwu not only soaked up a paycheck for nearly a decade while posing as a doctor, he also somehow managed to become the chairman of a branch of the Nigerian Medical Association. NHIS Nigeria must somehow restore the public’s trust, or the healthcare situation will never improve.
- Lack of Government Spending
Nigeria only spends 1.1% of its GDP on healthcare services. Without adequate money to fund hospitals and pay for medical staff, Nigeria will never be able to build an effective healthcare program for the people. Before the government injects more money into the system, though, reform needs to happen first to insure that the cash doesn’t find its way into the pockets of corrupt officials.
- Poor Accessibility
In its mission statement, the NHIS states that every Nigerian is entitled to healthcare– yet only 5 million people out of the over 170 million people living in Nigeria receive adequate care. Lack of bureaucratic coordination and poor funding are to blame.
- An Uninformed Public
Years of empty promises and inaction have lowered the public’s expectations when it comes to healthcare. As a result, most Nigerians either don’t understand their healthcare rights according to NHIS Nigeria or they have given up fighting for them. Politicians must be held accountable for the lack of adequate health care in Nigeria. If the people stand up and demand the services that they deserve, leaders will have no choice but to listen and take action.
- NHIS Nigeria: Stuck in the Analogue Age
India has led the way in developing robotic healthcare solutions and diagnostic practices that prevent diseases before they get out of control. The Nigerian healthcare system, however, is still lagging behind the times. Creativity is needed to bring Nigeria up to speed with the rest of the world. Modernizing healthcare would not only save lives, it would boost the economy and create jobs in the IT sector. Digitizing records and implementing apps and webpages designed to help Nigerians find healthcare services on their computers and mobile phones would be a good first step towards moving NHIS Nigeria into the 21st century.