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On Friday the 21st of June, it was time once again to celebrate excellence in healthcare in Nigeria.
A cynic, or even an ordinary citizen, might be inclined to ask:
‘Excellence? What ‘excellence’’?
Indeed, the broad picture of healthcare in Nigeria has been gloomy for several decades now. Despite the announcement, with fanfare, of structures set up by government to achieve the WHO-set Millennium Development Goals, and despite the latter-day razzmatazz created around a purported pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals, Nigeria remains one of the worst places in the world to be born and to live. The nation still has among the highest maternal and child mortality rates anywhere, as well as very low scores on quality of life indices. There is little faith, among the public, in their own health services. Where they can afford it, especially where they see their lives in danger, they seek healthcare abroad. Much of the better-quality service that is available in some private and a few public facilities is unaffordable to the great majority of the masses. Health Insurance, the touted solution that would remove the financial barrier to access, is mired in needless controversy at the national level, and fewer that one in fifteen of the citizenry are covered by its provisions.
Speaking of ‘excellence’ in such a context might appear to be the perfect oxymoron.
But beneath the gloomy surface a new and more promising reality is stirring to life. Energy and creativity are being deployed to look at critical issues in new ways. Much of the energy and effort is coming – not from government, but from private sources. The ability of the private sector to play a leading role in the health of the nation is often understated, and, until relatively recently, there was … Read More...