According to WHO, Nigeria currently has one of the worst healthcare systems in the world (187th out of 190 countries), despite having a large GDP and abundant mineral resources. Countries that are poorer are doing better with their health care system. We train doctors, but about 60% of them go abroad to work. Who can blame them? With the high workload and the small pay, doctors always want to seek better opportunities. What results is an even higher workload, for those doctors who have not yet had the opportunity to leave.
What are we, the public health professionals doing? We complain about the system and those in power. We talk about how our leaders have refused to invest in health because they do not see any tangible profit. We rant about how they have forgotten that a healthy nation will result in a wealthy nation. We grumble that it is our right to be healthy. But that’s all we do. We complain; amongst ourselves.
If those at the top have forgotten, shouldn’t we remind them? And if they refuse to listen, shouldn’t we do what we can to make a change where we can?
A lecturer of mine talked about the circle of concern vs circle of influence. We all have a circle of concern. If we just sit down and talk about our concerns, the circle will not get smaller, it will remain as is, or get bigger. But if we increase our circle of influence, by doing something about our concerns, eventually our circle of concern is going to get smaller. The bigger our circle of influence, the smaller our circle of concern will be.
If we complain about how things are deteriorating and don’t do anything about it, then nothing will change. Each one of us can do something to change things in our community, no matter how little. Because somehow in our own little way, we are doing something extra.
Something extra, that’s what we need to do. Not the norm. Because clearly, what we have been doing is not working. Clearly, the norm is not good enough. Our women are still dying in large numbers when they give birth, and our babies are still dying before they turn one.
It is our responsibility to create a change. It is our job. It is what we were trained to do. To make people healthier. We must do what we can to make it happen, even if it means doing something extra.