Finding a Fix for Nigeria Healthcare Landscape
Nigeria is a country in West Africa. Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, owing to its large population and economy. Since its independence in 1960, Nigeria has had a very limited scope of legal coverage for social protection. Besides, over 90% of the Nigerian population are without health insurance coverage. The quality of health care services delivered is poor and remains a huge source of concern.
Nigeria faces tremendous health challenges. An average of 20,000 Nigerians travel to India each year for medical assistance due to the absence of a solid healthcare system at home. There is a toxic mix of problems including inaccessibility of quality health care, poor hygiene, corruption, malnutrition, lack of access to safe drinking water, poor health infrastructure, fake drugs, insufficient financial investment, and lack of sufficient health personnel.
Damilola Adetunla is a valedictorian at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and has received a full scholarship to Northeastern University. He describes current healthcare system in Nigeria as “unreliable”.
Adetunla still remembers his grandmother’s recollection of his aunt slowly being drained of life during labour. That’s when the doctors made a nearly grave error in their diagnosis: They presumed her dead, and zipped her up in a body bag, when in fact she was merely unconscious. His aunt was treated properly after the initial misdiagnosis, but Adetunla says his grandmother wasn’t the same after the experience.
“I just told her right there, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to grow up, become a doctor, and fix the system,’” says Adetunla.
Now, he plans to major in biology and minor in neuroscience at Northeastern in the fall, all with the goal of going to medical school and becoming a neuroscientist. Adetunla says he’s excited to pair his medical ambitions with Northeastern’s internationally diverse Boston campus.