Forgotten rural communities in Nigeria. The Step Up Nigeria Team are joined by Madam Rose Gyar and Favour Omini of the Global Centre for Human Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Development (GLOCHEED) to discuss service delivery challenges in rural communities. Corruption or neglect? This episode unpacks the findings from two days of focus group discussions in Kusa and Kwakwa communities in Kogi State and Dari, Guruku, and Arusu communities in Nasarawa State.
Hosted by Feranmi Adeola with Ibukun Ijaopo, and Executive Director Onyinye Ough, join the discussion by adding your own comment below this post.
Mrs. Amaka, a resident of Gwagwa community, a suburb in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is terrified about using hospitals where she lives. She says a number of people have died in hospitals in her area due to underqualified nurses. Corrupt doctors are causing a lot of harm. According to her, ‘someone will be selling akamu (hot corn cereal) today and tomorrow she has carried syringe because she has paid N50,000 to become a nurse but with no adequate training’. She reports doctors employing their ‘friends’ as nurses and collecting money in exchange for recruiting unqualified nurses. Even basic procedures, like injections, are resulting in patients’ getting abscesses due to negligence. She reports a number of women are dying during childbirth in a particular hospital due to poor medical care.
Another experience was reported by Victoria Bawa, a farmer in one of the FCT suburbs. She complained of being extorted by health care staff during her recent visit to a government hospital in FCT. Victoria was asked to pay more than the official fee to buy drugs for her sick nephew in a government hospital. She was given a receipt of N2000 while she paid N4000 despite pleading that she had no money.
Others have also alleged that some directors kept in charge of managing the government hospitals are running hospitals as if it is their personal business. Issuing false bills or fake receipts and not remitting monies to the government is commonplace in such facilities. This is the state of public health care provision in Nigeria where corruption is thriving, while the poor are extorted for money and losing their lives. It is not surprising that that the Word Health Organization ranks Nigeria 187 out of 191 in the area of access to universal health coverage.
Lack of access to quality healthcare coupled with the prevalence of quack hospitals, doctors, fake drugs and substandard products is destroying the quality of health care provision in Nigeria, and this particularly affects the poor. The absence of transparent mechanisms and proper regulation gives room for corrupt practices.
Tackling corruption in this area will require a holistic approach. This will involve increasing funding to health care facilities, improving the pay conditions for medical personnel as well as building social accountability in local communities. Users of these health care facilities should have platforms where they can make complaints on corruption and poor service delivery. We need to have transparent mechanisms such as citizen service charters in hospitals to make people aware of their rights. Sanctions or punishment should be placed on any medical professional that is caught engaging in corrupt practices. We should not continue to allow corruption to kill more people. We need to act now.
On African Anti-corruption day we proudly launch the first Step Up Nigeria Podcast. Introducing the Step Up Nigeria Team and the soon to be released children’s book ‘Emeka’s Money’. The book teaches children the harm caused by corruption and the value of integrity.
Onyinye Ough- Executive Director of Step Up Nigeria is interviewed by Boason Omofaye on Business Day, Channels TV in the run up to African Anti-Corruption Day. They discuss her forthcoming book and the importance of educating children on the harm caused by corruption.
If you are interested in the children’s book ‘Emeka’s money’ and would like more information please register your interest at the website linked below:
Corrupt people often do not realise they are corrupt. Most of them do not recognise that their actions are causing harm to people. To make matters worse, these corrupt persons are praised and celebrated for their corrupt actions by their friends, family and those who directly benefit. The sad truth is… and it pains me to say it, but many corrupt people are actually quite likeable. Often charismatic and outgoing. All of these factors makes it difficult to teach children about the harm corruption is having.
This is the challenge I’m trying to tackle through my forthcoming children’s book ‘Emeka’s Money’. Emeka was a good man, and tried to do good things for the people he liked. However, he did not realise that his ‘nice actions’ to his friends were causing damage to the growth of his people and community. In one part, Emeka helps a friend secure a road contract from the State Governor. The kick-backs from the corrupt deal are so severe that the roads are not built well, and a woman gets injured in a road accident as a result. The book tries to make direct links between different aspect of corruption and the real harm they cause on people.
We need to get better at explaining the reasons why we should not engage in corrupt activities and make this real and relatable for people. Just saying that people should not be corrupt is not enough. Even corrupt people say that people should not be corrupt. It is more impactful to link corruption to the poor circumstances of the people around us. To prevent future generations from adopting what has become a common practice in Nigeria we need to start shaping the minds of our children. We all need to understand the importance of integrity in public office and delivering services for all. This goes far beyond being likeable and delivering only for our friends and family. To find out more about ‘Emeka’s Money’ you can visit my book launch website https://emekasmoney.wordpress.com