This is Nigeria: Help Yourself to Good Health_Dr Biodun Ogungbo

Healthcare financing in Nigeria remains inadequate with budgetary allocation to health barely exceeding 7% of the nation’s total budget. This allocation clearly falls below the April 2001 Abuja declaration of allocating a minimum of 15% of national budget to health. One hoped that we had better allocation of resources to start with. Health has a lower allocation than Defence and the allocation has been sliding for years. It’s nowhere near the agreed minimum percentage made in Abuja itself over 19 years ago (it’s that long ago!).

Why would anyone expect to have productive members of a society when they are unwell, be it physically or mentally? Many people simply plod on – with just enough in them to “collect” their monthly wages – if they are lucky enough to be paid on time. If not, then the pressure increases and becomes overwhelming. And that extends to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers mostly in government institutions. Neither are those clinics and hospitals adequately equipped or funded and the patients can’t afford the long list of things needed to properly care for them.

Anything you do is like a drop of water in a bottle of black ink. Still, we have no choice but to hope and pray and then work hard to improve the health indices of our dear country.

Listen, we must start from the primary healthcare clinics in your local area. When was the last time you showed up in the clinic to see for yourself? To ask what they need and how you can help. Can you or could you volunteer your skills and services? Can you pop in there for an hour a week to help: in triage, in cleaning or even with psychological support for the staff? Are you able to help repair this or that, repaint this or that or supply this and that?

Not for gain but as a community service?

What can you bring to the table in a self-help or community group to uplift your primary healthcare centre, so that should you, a, relative, a friend or a neighbor, even a stranger needs their meager services they would be able to respond and offer some assistance?

Think about this then go out and help yourself to good health.

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