Anyone is free to fall sick, under the law. But that freedom of choice is severely curtailed by the individual’s access to good medicare. Although there is an existing law which grants any citizen the right to be treated for gunshot wounds in this nation, pray try convincing a wounded armed robber to visit the nearest general hospital for treatment.
The same scenario also applies to the elitist five per cent who control 95 per cent of this nation’s resources. While some of them have highly competent personal physicians for any ailment, others would rather fly off to London or even India to cure a mere headache! Their justification is that the healthcare facilities in Nigeria are substandard and beneath their status.
Ironically, this assertion only fuels a vicious cycle whereby the highly competent medical personnel in the country are lured away to more appreciative developed countries. Caregivers and medical experts are deserting the hospital corridors in droves for greener pastures abroad, while those who remain behind often embrace industrial action because of poor conditions of service.
The recent foreign medical trip by PMB was frowned on by many irate citizens who felt the president was only encouraging medical tourism at the expense of developing the parlous health facilities around the country. Nowadays, health initiatives are largely left to the goodwill of humane and wealthy citizens who desire to give back to a helpful society.
Going for treatment abroad (for ordinary cough) is regarded as a status symbol for the nouveau rich, where quality medical services are readily available. However, as long as these medical pilgrimages continue, those who ought to make a difference in this nation’s health sector won’t do so, and the poor will continue to suffer. That thought is enough to make anyone fall sick…not so?
– Abimbola Akosile