The platitudinous statement “Health is Wealth” has since unconsciously been reversed to “Wealth” is “Health”, by prevailing circumstances in Nigeria, such as economic recession (a boon or bane to Nigerians?), greed, get-rich-quick syndrome etc.
The former statement implies that he/she who has health or is healthy, strong, hearty, buoyant, physically and mentally fit and kicking, walking and working, has wealth because it is only a healthy person in this category that can work hard to produce resource that generate wealth (revenue, money, food, buildings, cars etc), while the latter statement denotes that a person (especially doctors, nurses, health workers, chemists, pharmacists etc.) places emphasis on the money to be collected from a patient, no matter the economic condition of his or her client. This is why there are fake drugs, trafficking in adulterated and expired and illicit drugs by the so-called NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations).
The condition of government hospitals and the attitude of their workers, including doctors and nurses, make it imperative for people to seek medical treatment abroad (especially India) where people spend over Ten Million (N10,000,000.00) Naira for surgery or minor ailments, that can be carried out in well equipped and staffed government hospitals in the country. Why can’t our people learn how to “Fish”, instead of depending on “Fish caught” by another person?
It is necessary to note here that to be a doctor or nurse etc is a calling, vocation, and not a business or money making or profit-oriented venture and the office should not be commercialized.
Medical personnel should not be hostile to patients or have inhuman tendencies that will scare patients away from reputable hospitals and medical centres. They should be hospitable and sympathetic to patients especially the indigent ones. This will reduce the incidence of quackery. Self-medication, illicit drug sales and purchases, sudden deaths etc. Doctors in government hospitals should desist from diverting patients to their private clinics or hospitals where they treat them at “cut throat” charges and increase the burden and agony of the poor. This is why the Federal Government on 12th Oct. 2017 banned doctors in public hospitals from what it called private practice (PP). FRCN 7am news and IBC, 6.45am news. The government should also ban illegal medical centres and scrutinize what the so-called traditional doctors and herbalists are doing. There should be routine checks in government hospitals to stop lateness to work, absenteeism and other malpractices in government and private hospitals involved in health matters.
The reason why “too many cooks spoil the broth” in health matters is that admission to the profession is no longer on merit; unqualified candidates are now admitted, parents push their children to become “doctors” that will earn them “fabulous money etc.
Doctors should be of “good character, learning, behaviour etc that characterize their profession. Unfortunately the character of most doctors, nurses and other health workers leaves much to be desired and p.p not capable to work in government hospitals.
All said and done, it is necessary that government at all levels should adequately fund and equip hospitals, health centres etc. The policy of “health for all”, “health at your door step”, “poverty alleviation” should not be politicized or rhetorical.
Mr. Ejeme wrote from Amauburu Ubomiri, Mbaitoli LGA, Imo State.