Nigeria:History of Health Care System 2
Nigeria In The Early days
Organised and standard health care found its foundation in missionaries hospitals. The Roman Catholic Church, Baptist and Anglican are to be paid tribute for this feat. Although they used this as a means for evangelism and spreading God's word. History has it that the Catholics founded the first hospital in Nigeria,Sacred heart hospital located in Abeokuta in 1895.Health care delivery was progressing due to World War I, and the first government hospital is the St.Margaret hospital located in Calabar in 1889. No wonder it was the first Colonial Capital Of Nigeria before Lagos and now Abuja. Colonial masters set up a centralized health system across west Africa which was controlled by their head office in London.
As time progressed,population expanded and these health services where decentralized although some key agencies like the West African Medical Research Centre was still maintained by the British Government. In Nigeria, doctors were either civil servants or worked for the missionary.
What went wrong?
As clamour for independence gained momentum, the government begun setting up ministries of health in different regions of the country. Although the federal government was to be held accountable for most health budget of states. The state government could also do as they wished with the money. But before all these could come into fruition, the colonial government set up Development Plans For the country. These plans spanned a period of ten years and brought about the establishment of medical institutions,teaching hospitals,health centers, and clinics: most of which were concentrated in urban areas thus living the rural dwellings with little or no access.
Furthermore,wars and greed of leaders who wanted power turned their focus from the peoples' need and settled on satisfying their "bellies" thus leading to a neglect of health care which gave birth to deterioration of the system.
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The Situation On Ground
Although in 1987,the government set up it's primary health care plan it was never 100% functional. The government came up with a plan giving that Nigeria(which comprises of 36 states and 774 local government). Each local government area having a population estimate of 150000-200000 will have a minimum of 10 primary healthcare centers and 32 health clinics with at least 1 standard comprehensive health center.But the sad fact is that till this day we have not achieved such feat.
In fact, the little we have has been overstretched and the system is collapsing bit by bit. Today the situation on ground is unbearable-martenal mortality ,infant mortality, malnutrition, etc. Primary health care centers are almost non-existant and the lower class bears it all.
The Way Forward And Aiming For The Top
First of all,I want to heal all the mishaps that have come upon our health sector on the leaders. Government is a continuous process and I propose that present government should uphold agreements made by previous ones as far as it will make us better. Take for example the Abuja 2001 declaration: where a country is to allocate 15% of its annual budget to health but surprisingly this agreement has not been kept. In recent years health budgets has been dwindling. On the same vain corruption in high and low places.
Secondly,the citizens(health practioners): the solution to our health delivery problems is in our hands! Let's not run away,instead let's come together and build a better health for us all. Imagine we all run away, who will be left to treat your uncles, aunties and parents you leave behind? No one.
In conclusion,The Nigerian dream must be achieved,let us think of the future consequence of our actions-hold on before you do that......have you ever known that there is an invisible eye watching you and taking account of everything you do? The truth remains that you will be judged after now, that the when you close your eyes in death. Please let us shun evil vices, let's rise up for a new Nigeria, let's do the RIGHT THING. THANK YOU
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