Nigeria is a country with many unutilized potentials. The health sector is one aspect of the nation that suffers greatly in the nation.
The healthcare system of Nigeria is controlled by the three tiers of the government; Federal, State, and Local Government, which in turn collectively controls the tiers of the system; Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Healthcare System.
The federal government is in charge of tertiary health services, creating the medical regulatory bodies and schemes, and investing in the other tiers of healthcare. The state government is in control of the secondary healthcare system with state-owned/general hospitals and health centers. And the local government takes care of the primary health services that include health centers under their jurisdiction and public health care such as immunizations.
Generally, healthcare in Nigeria suffers a lot of challenges and is one of the worst in the world. Among the 191 rankings of medical systems in the world by WHO, Nigeria is placed in the 156th position. That has so much to say about how bad the system is.
The government’s impact on her health system is abysmal. Where other countries take their time to invest in their health sector, Nigeria’s health sector has very little investment. In the country’s yearly budget, the health sector receives a minimal ration of about 5%, and even with how small its part is, most of the funds are still embezzled.
The problems of Nigeria’s healthcare system includes:
- Lack of adequate financing by the government.
- Poor infrastructures and facilities.
- Little or no health insurance is available for citizens.
The ones available are not functioning properly, because the government creates them for selfish reasons and end up misappropriating its funds. And those who can register and get the little they can, have to register with a lot of money.
- Citizens pay much to get treated in government hospitals and health centers which is outrageous. Most average people prefer to self-medicate and stay away from the hospital until the situation is critical.
- Long waiting lines in hospitals every day. Many are left unattended to and may come consecutively for days before they are attended to, and each day comes with fresh payments.
- Unmotivated medical personnel and laziness to work.
- The brain drain of Nigeria’s good medical personnel to other parts of the world, because of the lack of interest of the government in the health sector.
- The frequent and persistent national strikes by her health workers, due to the low salaries and lack of infrastructures.
- The high mortality rate due to the lack of facilities and quality healthcare.
- Corruption and the misappropriation of health funds by the government.
Nigeria’s health sector, like all her other key factors, has failed greatly, and this is primarily as a result of her leadership. The solution to these challenges is the baseline that the government of Nigeria is the major problem and they need to have a deeper interest in investing in the sector–as much as they want to enrich themselves–and create a better and more quality health care for all.
Nigerians have embraced medical tourism because of the poor quality of health care in Nigeria. Although the poor cannot afford to travel abroad for medical treatments, the people who are privileged enough leave the country for critical health conditions, and the very rich like the politicians and socialites, leave for other countries for medical services as simple as check-ups and diagnostics.
In India, one of the most foreigners coming in for medical treatments are Nigerians and many other countries record the same. Generally, according to world statistics, Nigerians are among the highest-ranked medical tourists.
But the good news is that there’s no big need to leave the country for quite easy medical services. There’s another aspect of the healthcare system in Nigeria, which is the private sector. Hospitals and health centers are owned and ran by private medical individuals. And where healthcare services are concerned in Nigeria, the private sector does better than the government sector.
Although some of them are not fully equipped, most have better facilities than the government-owned health centers, and some have robustly equipped hospitals for almost any time of treatments. These few may seem too expensive and unaffordable for the common man, but they are way less expensive than going abroad and offer good healthcare.
- A few of the best hospitals in Nigeria include:
- Lagoon Hospitals
Located in Lagos, Nigeria, Lagoon Hospitals has been labeled the best and largest hospital in Nigeria with 6 health facilities. She aims to provide healthcare services that measure up to international standards. As a result, the Lagoon Hospitals is the first and only hospital in Nigeria and second in Sub-Saharan Africa to be Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited and keeps being re-accredited.
This hospital provides world-class health care services, with specialists and surgeons in several areas of human health. Euracare offers sound medical advice, consultations, and treatment and has recorded a good number of surgical procedures in neurology, cardiology, ophthalmology, cosmetic, pediatric, etc.
This is a multi-specialist hospital located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. It is partly financed by Shell Nigeria and some other multi-nationals. Princess Hospital is working towards eradicating the need to travel outside the country for treatments.