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How Nigeria’s Healthcare System Continues To Fail


Why is Nigeria’s healthcare system subpar? This is a question many ask but are left riddled with answers given. Rightfully so, it is almost ridiculous that a human being’s right to life is still being hindered.

In other words, the healthcare system in Nigeria sucks. From governmental inadequacies to poor economic decisions or little regard for the masses, there’s a long list of reasons. To clarify, the country’s healthcare is delivered through primary, secondary and tertiary health facilities. Also, these facilities are handled by both private and public sectors. 

According to the 2022 ONE report titled “The State of Primary Healthcare Service Delivery in Nigeria”, the problematic state of healthcare where access to, and the utilization of health service is continuously disrupted by systemic challenges across states.

Consequently, the report shows that Zamfara and 17 other Nigerian states are weak in healthcare service delivery, especially in public facilities. The other states include Sokoto, Taraba, Kebbi, Katsina, Borno, Yobe, Kogi, Jigawa, Rivers, Gombe, Cross River, Edo, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Plateau, Imo, and Kaduna.

Having established these facts, let’s uncover some of the problems facing the sector.

Check out 5 barriers to Nigeria’s healthcare system…

1. Weak Governance 

Firstly, the government is not taking responsibility as a building block of healthcare services. From system design and policy guidance to accountability and oversight regulation, the government needs to be stronger in its approach.

2. Lack of Essentials 

Another problem facing the healthcare system is the lack of essential drugs, vaccines and professional health workers. This is a result of the weak economy making such amenities expensive for average and below average Nigerians. 

3. An Absence of Clarity with Standard Protocols

Additionally, healthcare workers are in most states are not trained within the proper parameters. More importantly, the potential health care professionals tend to go abroad due to the inability of the sector to pay well. 

4. Proximity

Many health facilities are situated far away from the people, especially in rural and hard to reach areas. The most common barriers to accessing health services by the population are the cost of services, distance to the health facility, and the attitude of health workers.

5. Incompetent Diagnosis

The quality of health services is generally poor and does not instill confidence in the people. Competence in the diagnosis and management of clinical illnesses is disproportionate, while adherence to clinical guidelines is low.