By Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna
At 49, Nigeria has nothing significant to celebrate. Unmet health needs are all Nigerians have to show. In the area of health, the nation has remained aÂ toddler, refusing to grow and develop. The current state of the nationâ€™s health industry sharply defines the level of decay, deploration and decadence the country has plunged into.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria is one of the 10 countries with the worst health statistics in the sector. From infant mortality, through under-five mortality to maternal mortality, the nation rates amongst the very worst. With an average life expectancy of 47, most Nigerians are virtually on borrowed time.
It has been a case of â€œeveryone for himself or herself and God for us allâ€.
From diagnosis to treatment, care and support, the nation is in a state of stagnation. Teaching hospitals are not at their best, the primary health care is comatose, and the referral system is floundering. Public health problems such as malaria, nutritional deficiencies, vaccine preventable disorders and non-communicable disorders have remained unresolved.
The nation possesses the inglorious status of being the worldâ€™s biggest reservoir of the wild polio virus.
Polio will only be eradicated from the world if it is wiped out of Nigeria. Budget shortfalls unquestionably
contribute to the deplorable health statistics. The low immunisation and slow progress in providing access to improved basic life support facilities do little to help.
With everyone who is somebody, including Mr. President, regularly travelling out to take care of their medical needs, coupled with a per capita government spending on health that is one of the worldâ€™s lowest, it is not surprising that poor quality of healthcare will continue to slow down the nationâ€™s progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals for health.