You only need to suffer a medical issue that requires urgent and specialist attention before you start harbouring doubts about Nigeria. The talk of patriotism and appreciating Nigeria and Nigerians will be thrown out of the window very quickly, without so much as a glance backwards.


There is no way the Nigerian economy can progress, if we are not assured of good health. Along with sound education, this is the other side of the investment that we need if we must improve our human capital endowment.

You only need to suffer a medical issue that requires urgent and specialist attention before you start harbouring doubts about Nigeria. The talk of patriotism and appreciating Nigeria and Nigerians will be thrown out of the window very quickly, without so much as a glance backwards.

Often times you hear people say it is only God who can save us. This has become the fall-back response to issues that ordinarily should vex us enough for us to act. Perhaps it is the hopelessness that permeates the society that encourages such a response. Because we do not have an equitable system and also because our leaders are not easily accessible. And so, the only saviour we have has to be God.

Why should the love for Nigeria be one-sided? If we are expected to love Nigeria, should Nigeria not love us in return?
We should really be calling a state of emergency on health care in this country. People are being mis-diagnosed every day and nobody is being held accountable.

Although, we must not be too quick to put the blame only on health care practitioners, for I hear that the conditions under which they must practice are simply deplorable. Speak to any of them, and they will tell you how they are often forced to work under very harsh conditions that even war-ravaged countries do not have to contend with.

Are we really churning out well-grounded and competent medical graduates? Is there proper oversight over medical practices, such that their knowledge is up to date? What happens when a patient dies, or an operation goes wrong? Is anyone held accountable ― and how?


Nigeria can only work when institutions support each other. It will work when institutions trust each other. The various institutions that have a role to play in the health sector really need to have the right conversations.

Are we allocating enough money to our health sector? Are we really churning out well-grounded and competent medical graduates? Is there proper oversight over medical practices, such that their knowledge is up to date? What happens when a patient dies, or an operation goes wrong? Is anyone held accountable ― and how? If a medical practice is ill-equipped, for whatever reason, should we continue to allow this practice to remain open, endangering the lives of people?

After a medical procedure abroad, there is no way you won’t curse Nigeria and how dated our medical practices are. Some of our medical practitioners are on the “it must be malaria” automated response mode.

I think we are all tired of the talk around fighting corruption with little to show for it. I believe most Nigerians want to be alive to see a Nigeria that works. By not paying attention to the health sector, as Nigerians are being killed needlessly. What really would it take to fix the health sector?

There is no doubt that there is considerable fatigue around the whole “we-are-fighting-corruption” mantra. Nigerians want results now. Perhaps, rather than the never-ending battles in court, we may want to consider a reparation of some sort. We could negotiate for these monies to be used to build world-class hospitals. We could ask these persons to build hospitals using specifications given to them in exchange for their freedom. This way, we save the time and resources otherwise spent prosecuting cases that end up in a stalemate.

It is possible that if we got our acts together in the medical field, we could be the hub for breakthrough vaccines and cures in tropical medicine, at least. There is a lot about Nigeria that could sort the world out, but for some strange reason, we just refuse to acknowledge this and make it work for us.


Sometimes, we must ask what really makes the average “big man” in Nigeria tick? The irony of it all is that the same people whose lives have been most affected, will be the same ones protecting those who have siphoned monies meant to make Nigeria a better place for them. It is really difficult to fight the Nigerian cause, though. There are too many people dressing up their favour to us.

Speaking to a respected medical practitioner in the U.K. recently, she admitted that she preferred her private clinic because it offered her more exposure to unusual medical conditions that foreigners present, and this allows professionals like her to interrogate their approach to medical conditions much more. She said that the black man, especially the African, often presents diagnosis that challenge some of the medical assumptions made by renowned medical experts and for this reason she was often eager to see African patients.

This feedback left me even more depressed.

What is the point of having our freedom in the name of democracy, but yet we cannot enjoy it? Was this part of our founding fathers’ dreams when they moved to free Nigeria? Or was it part of their repressed nightmares?

It is possible that if we got our acts together in the medical field, we could be the hub for breakthrough vaccines and cures in tropical medicine, at least. There is a lot about Nigeria that could sort the world out, but for some strange reason, we just refuse to acknowledge this and make it work for us.

‘Lande Atere is a lawyer and everyday girl.