The concept “healthy” involves the physical body, the mind and the spirit. When our body, mind or spirit is poorly functioning it describes a lack of health (i.e. unhealthy). Unhealthy group of people describe an unhealthy community or society. Is Nigeria healthy? Are the people of Nigeria healthy? If Nigeria is not healthy and its people are not healthy who is to blame?
The relevant variables suggest Nigeria is not healthy. The mind set in Nigeria does not help because Nigerians have allowed what would have been their nation to be a state for the state rather than a state for the people. Do the state and federal ministries of health have some responsibilities and how are they meeting their responsibilities? Nigerians and these ministries have to answer this. It is not just enough for these parastatals to say we do not have funds. This is because our national health policy should be based on a forward leaning pro-active approach. Prevention is always cheaper than intervention, so a forward leaning approach will mean implementing preventive public health strategies.
A simple strategy can be to focus on the five common health issues in Nigeria: Malaria, Intestinal infections, HIV-AIDS, Hypertension and Diabetes. What can you do from your small corner today? How can Nigerians begin to thinker individually what they can do for themselves and how they can use it to impact people around them? How can everyone, together contribute to changing the direction of the healthcare situation in the country?
With the constant rise in hypertension, diabetes mellitus, stroke, and heart attacks etc., wecan contribute in our little corner to fight back those menacing health challenges that ravage many of our families and friends. There are simple live-saving tasks that we can individually follow that will make a difference. These include exercise, quit tobacco use, reduce alcohol consumption and watch your diet especially sugar and salt intake. You should not just do it yourself, but tell your spouse, brothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends and neighbors about it. Do not say, “I cannot exercise because I cannot run.”If you cannot run, you walk or do any other form of physical activity that is pleasurable for you. As we cover our individual responsibilities, we must also demand that our leaders be held accountable if we want to reach the goal of “healthy Nigeria”.
As citizens and taxpayers, what can we do to make the Nigerian government fund at least one fully functional hospital in each of the 6 geopolitical zones? Ask your spouse, brothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, friends and neighbors to call their federal representatives and senators daily till they bring a proposal in the national assembly on this and begin to implement it. The time is now, we can make this promise to ourselves, families and neighbors. The change can begin with us!