The Pick-A-Ward Initiative

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 POLSCOPE with  Eddy Odivwri Email: eddy.odivwri@thisdaylive.com, SMS: 08053069356

Perhaps the greatest asset of a man (or woman) is his or her health. Of what use is a huge bank account when there is no health? That makes the health delivery institutions a major area of attention by governments and non governmental bodies.

But the sad news is that Nigeria’s health sector is in a dismal state; one where healthcare is not exactly guaranteed. With obsolete and non-functional equipment, poor and ill-trained medical personnel, over-crowded hospital wards, infection-friendly facilities, the challenge of seeking and getting effective health care in Nigeria is indeed huge.

Even then, there is no hope in sight that things will get better soon. With dwindling economy, brain drain and desperation of crooks in the medical sector, it is certain that the federal or state governments alone will not have the capacity to attend to all medical issues in the country.
That perhaps explains why some young Nigerians under the auspices of Great Ideas Team have taken it upon themselves to launch a campaign aimed at encouraging private individuals and corporate entities to undertake the Pick-A-Ward initiative with the ultimate aim of improving overall service delivery in the health sector.

According to the group, the essence is to encourage “an individual, corporate organisation or non-governmental organisations (NGO’s) to pick up a ward in any of the federal or state institutions: teaching hospitals and federal medical centres and renovate it to international standard to help deliver a first class service. It is important to note that medical tourism alone costs Nigeria more than $800m annually”.

The group lamented that “none of Nigeria’s teaching hospitals or federal medical centres is among top 100 hospitals in Africa”, especially as even poorer African countries like Niger, Ghana, Chad and Mali had better ranking.

Great Ideas Team believes that with cleaner hospital environments, infections from even within hospitals will be minimized just as the frequent resort to trado-medical measures in treating aliments will be reduced.

Determined to collaborate with foreign medical institutions to promote the upgrade of Nigeria’s health services, the group stressed that , “The objective is to make our hospitals great, robust, affordable, accessible, environment-friendly clean and marketable.

It regretted that in April 2011 Heads of State in African Union (AU) met and pledged to set a target of 15% of their annual budget to improve the health sector, but the Federal Government spends just about 5-6% of the annual budget just as even some states make lower budgets for the health sector. Beside the intrinsic satisfaction of having helped to save lives, individuals and corporate organisations who embrace the initiative will have a veritable means of marketing the needs of their brands in a way that exceeds the normal corporate social responsibility niche.