Today, 7th of April, 2014, people all over the world celebrate this year’s World Health Day, an annual event to mark the formation of the United Nations Organisation, UNO, now UN.
The World Health Day is a global event aimed at creating awareness on selected themes that affect global health systems.
This year, the emphasis is to create awareness on the various disease vectors and how they can be eradicated.
One of the important vectors is mosquito, which causes malaria, a disease that killed over 600, 0000 people, most of them in Africa in 2010.
* President Goodluck Jonathan charged to do more on health facilities across the country
However, as various government parastatals, agencies, private organisations and Non-Government Organisations, NGOs, mark the day across the country, Nigerians have identified some of the fundamental problems that must be tackled to achieve better healthcare delivery.
Although the theme of this year’s celebration is Vector Borne Diseases, some Nigerians have called for more government action to ensure the safety and health of the pregnant women, unborn children coupled with the need to reduce infant and maternal deaths.
Cynthia Attah, a Port Harcourt-based mother of three, commenting on the areas she thinks those in government should focus more on charged the authorities to be more proactive in providing sound healthcare delivery to the people, especially those at the grassroots.
“There is need to end the infant and maternal mortality rate in the country. As a cardinal goal of the Millennium, Development Goals, MDGs, the government in collaboration with concerned organizations must work towards ensuring good health for the pregnant women through sound anti-natal services.
* Students demonstrating the need to brush teeth regularly during celebration of the World Oral Day recently
“This is the only way to ensure that expectant mothers and the infants are safe,” she said.
Much aligned to the theme of this year’s anniversary, Iyanu-Oluwa Adesola, a civil servant based in the Lagos, believes that government has done well in the provision of solid health care in the country.
He opined that the presence of multiple tiers of health institutions like primary health centres, general hospitals and tertiary hospitals imply that government is providing an enabling environment for the establishment of health facilities.
Adesola however called on the government to gear-up in providing responses to health needs such as eradicating vectors such as mosquitoes that are responsible for the high ratio of malaria patients in the country.
He noted also that adequate structures must be put in place to curtail the invasion of other causal factors of illness such as Ebola fever which is currently troubling some countries in West Africa and Lassa fever which was reported in some parts of the country some months back.
“There is a risk of an outbreak of Ebola fever in Nigeria, it is already here in the West African coast. So government must take necessary steps, including tightening immigration rules and then provide immediate response mechanism so that in case the vector gets to Nigeria, it can be tackled effectively,” Adeola stated.
While also praising the states and federal government for improving the health care fortunes of the country since the return of democracy in the country more than a decade ago, Atibile Umoh, a business executive, called for effective sanitation as a means of keeping the environment clean and free from disease-causing organisms.
The insurance broker, who advocated for the return of sanitary inspectors and a compulsory weekly environmental sanitation exercise in the country, explained that when this is done, the risk of catching air-borne and water borne disease would be reduced drastically.
“A lot of places in this country are unclean. When we had sanitary inspectors watching out for toilets, bathrooms and the level of cleanliness of our environment, the situation was better.
“But these days, streets are littered with waste and faeces, yet nobody cares. We must act now and empower those supervisory agencies to do their work.
“This can complement what the clinics and hospitals are doing because awareness is key,” He said.