Four things Economically Backward countries have in common — Adaku Efuribe
1.Their leaders have misogynist views and delegate women to the background
2. High level of corruption among Government officials
3. Poor healthcare budgets/disregard for healthcare workers
4. Disregard for teachers/non-payment of salaries.
Such countries can never grow; they can only move round in circles, here are the reasons: Women make up to half or even one-third of the population and not tapping into their wealth of experience means the country is losing out on vital human resource. Michelle Obama once said ‘’No country can ever flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens Government officials who loot funds are not dedicated to their duties and when they are not held accountable, they have no obligation to perform, so they become a liability to the state.
Agencies that are tasked with fighting economic and financial crimes cannot operate effectively if they take bribes and have a share in looted funds. Health should come first, and this is reflected in the annual budget, if the health budget is 1% of the annual budget and life expectancy is low, how then will the economy grow, with a poor standard of living, high rate of infant mortality/maternal deaths and rising public health issues. If health care facilities are inadequate, healthcare professionals are not well paid and they have to migrate to other countries to practice, how then would the country achieve development and carter for the healthcare needs of its citizens?
In Nigeria, High prices and low availability is still a major barrier for patients’ access to new and old medicines.
The World Health Organisation (WHO), has published the new edition of its Model Lists of Essential Medicines and Essential Medicines for Children, which include new treatments for various cancers, insulin analogues and new oral medicines for diabetes, new medicines to assist people who want to stop smoking, and new antimicrobials to treat serious bacterial and fungal infections. The listings aim to address global health priorities, identifying the medicines that provide the greatest benefits, and which should be available and affordable for all.
What is the plan of the Nigerian Government to ensure these essential medicines are accessible to the citizens and ordinary Nigerians resident in the country at the point of need?
It is no longer news that top Government officials jet out of the country for medical treatment, leaving the ‘poor masses’ to their fate when they fall ill. There is ongoing strike action by medical/healthcare professionals in Nigeria and the Nigerian Government has not been able to put a stop to the strike or meet the demands of personnel on strike.
Are we going to make these essential medicines affordable for all or for those who can afford private treatment only?
It is the duty of the Nigerian Government to ensure these medicines are provided in our public hospitals. I must say, we should hold our leaders accountable and ensure they do the right thing.
Teachers play a very important role towards the growth of the economy. They train the leaders of tomorrow, if teachers are constantly owed salaries, how them can they impact knowledge, there would always be a knowledge gap where half breed individuals take up leadership positions in the future. It’s indeed a vicious cycle for the countries in this group; one step forward, and two steps backward. To change the status quo, drastic change is needed, and this can be achieved by electing good quality leaders who are passionate about making a change in the first instance.
Article by Adaku Efuribe,
Adaku is a Health Promotion Ambassador/Socio-Political Analyst, she has been featured in Forbes Ignite as one who creates social impact and sustainability.