Tragedy struck on September 29, 2023, as Greatness Olorunfemi, a young mother of two and a tailor from Abuja, lost her life in a harrowing incident. While on her way to deliver clothes to a customer, she boarded a taxi, only to find herself in the hands of a gang of robbers.
They callously ejected her from the moving vehicle, abandoning her to a fatal fate on the road. Compassionate passersby rushed her to Maitama General Hospital in Abuja, desperate to secure urgent medical care for her. Shockingly, they were met with refusal from the hospital staff, denying her the critical medical attention she so desperately required.
The untimely demise of Greatness sheds light on the profound deficiencies within Nigeria’s healthcare system. This tragic event exposes the dire lack of accessible and high-quality care, particularly during emergencies, as well as the chronic scarcity of vital resources.
Nigeria ranks among the lowest in global health system performance, with an alarmingly low doctor-to-patient ratio, far below the recommended standards. Public hospitals in Nigeria often deter citizens from seeking medical assistance due to inadequate services, lengthy waiting times, and prohibitive costs.
Those with the means opt for private healthcare or seek medical treatment abroad, while others resort to self-medication or traditional and faith-based practices, resulting in needless fatalities from preventable illnesses.
Despite governmental assurances to enhance healthcare, persistent underfunding and a lack of political will continue to impede progress. Nigeria’s healthcare budget allocation falls significantly short of recommended targets, necessitating heavy reliance on external donors for financial support.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the frailty of the healthcare system, overwhelming already strained resources and disrupting vital services. The tragic passing of Greatness Olorunfemi serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need for reform within Nigeria’s healthcare system.
It beckons action from the government, civil society, private sector, and international allies to ensure impartial access to quality and affordable healthcare, especially in times of crisis.
Her untimely demise echoes a plea to safeguard the healthcare rights of all Nigerians, striving to avert future loss of life due to systemic shortcomings.