Nigeria: World Health Day - Nigerians Groan, Resort to Self-Medication As NARD Strike Continues

With the incessant industrial action by health workers in the country, poor Nigerians continue to groan in pain as they are left with the options of self-medication and use of herbal medicines, LEADERHIP has learnt.

Whereas the idea behind these frequent strikes may be justified, the common man on the street always bears the loss, considering its implication on more than 50 per cent of Nigerians who are living below $1 per day.

The most vulnerable people in this situation are the pregnant women and parents of under five children, especially those who cannot afford private hospitals.

Narrating her story, a pregnant woman who was compelled to give birth in a private hospital last week Thursday at Mpape, FCT, Mrs Stella Okafor, told our correspondent that she had registered for antenatal in one of the general hospitals and that when her labor stated, she was taken to the hospital by her husband. She said as they entered the hospital, they were turned back and told that resident doctors were on strike.

According to Stella, "I know my husband's pocket, hence the reason why I initially registered with a general hospital.

But we had to go to a private hospital where we were asked to pay N70 (Seventy thousand naira).

Stella's story may not be different from other pregnant women who have given birth during the strike.

A meat seller at Ojota Market, OJo Amed, explains to LEADERSHIP that he now takes 'agbo' anytime he feels sick. "If I have a stomach ache, my customer knows what she will give me to make me okay," he said.

As for Mr Michael Ogun, who has his medical card with a private hospital in Lagos state, accessing quality healthcare is so expensive that he spends N50,000 to N100,000 when his child is sick.

Giving an instance, Ogun said, "My daughter was sick last November and was rushed to the private hospital. The doctor plainly told me that I need to deposit N100,000 before they commence treatment on her.

"I had to deposit the money because the life of my daughter is more important to me than anything. She had an infection, and such, we spent two days at the hospital. Those two days cost us N86,000. Can you imagine?"

Ogun said he has, therefore, resolved to self-medication. He said, "Ever since then, I stock my house with infection drugs, malaria drugs and Ibuprofen for my children. I have been treating my children myself. Once they are running temperature, I give them Ibuprofen. If they are vomiting, I treat them with malaria drugs for three days and Infection for seven days."

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