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The collapse of the Nigerian health sector is almost total as both government officials, no matter how patriotic they claim to be, fly abroad for every minor health problem and health workers also jostle to leave for greener pastures abroad where they could earn decent wages. For instance, Nigeria losses over $2.5 billion annually to what has now being termed “medical tourism”.

The collapse of health infrastructure isn’t limited to the ordinary citizens alone. Even in Aso Rock, where the clinic reportedly receives a budgetary allocation of N4 billion naira, the President’s wife and daughter has seen to recently allege that the clinic couldn’t even boast of common syringe or paracetamol.  For Mrs Buhari, even though the clinic was supposed to cater for the immediate health needs of the first family, ministers and presidential aides, her aides advised her not to use the facility because it wasn’t functional and they advised her to seek medical treatment abroad for any medical complaints.

Another repercussion of the poor funding of the health sector is in the area of training of doctors and other health workers. According to key insiders in the sector, beyond the attitude problem of our health workers is the issue of incompetence due to the poor quality of training received by doctors in residency training and even medical students in the universities. These insiders allege that the current mode of training is so deficient it throws out half-baked and incompetent.

What is more, due to the terrible working conditions, Nigerian doctors have been deserting the country in droves in search for better working conditions in other countries. According to the Nigerian Medical Association, more than 40, 000 out of the 75,000 registered Nigerian doctors were practicing abroad while 70 percent of those in the country were thinking of picking jobs outside. It also came to light recently that over 100 doctors resigned from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, in 2017 while about 800 resigned from Lagos state hospitals in the last two years.

Perhaps, we need to declare a state of emergency in the health sector and take radical steps to rebuild our healthcare infrastructure. One of such radical steps may be to ban foreign medical treatments for all government officials beginning with the president. Then, they will have no option than to take the issue of healthcare seriously. What do you think?

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