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My recent medical adventure means I’ve accessed healthcare in four countries, including Nigeria. Along the way, I have formed some personal opinions about healthcare in Nigeria.

I suspect that when Nigerians say older doctors in Teaching Hospitals are the “best”, this is what they mean – the doctors have seen thousands of cases before, and so when they see yours, they automatically assume you have the same problem. I have found some of these older doctors to be condescending and rushed. I had many questions about my health that I expected to be answered. I rarely got detailed answers in accessible language.

My dad was one of Nigeria’s highest ranking medical doctors at a time – both in the Air Force and in Government hospitals. After his death, I heard great testimonials. So, I know not all older doctors are oddly behaved. What changed?

It would seem many Nigerian doctors are now stressed and overworked, yet underpaid. Understandably, they neither have the time nor patience for individual cases. They need you to hurry up and be treated, so you can make way for other patients.

Many hospitals don’t have well maintained modern diagnostic tools. There are so many ailments that could be managed, if caught early. But sadly, misdiagnosis seems rife.

If you can afford it, please always seek a second opinion abroad. I believe many Nigerian doctors are victims of failed institutions. Despite their best efforts, they cannot possibly provide the standard of healthcare obtainable in saner climes. Seeking a second opinion is no guarantee of a miraculous recovery. It doesn’t necessarily make you luckier than others who cannot afford to do so. But, to some extent it evens your odds, where healthcare is concerned. At least you know what you’re dealing with and what options are available to you beyond Nigeria.

To reduce the cost implication of healthcare outside Nigeria, please get global health insurance from companies like AXA Mansard or Avon. If you remove the US from the scope of coverage, their insurance packages become more affordable. I keep saying that the best time to get health insurance is when you’re younger and don’t already have “pre-existing conditions” to drive up your premiums. So, please get insured early.

I need to add: Parents, you owe your children full disclosure of hereditary illnesses and predispositions – hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, dementia etc. Many Nigerian parents never discussed such with their kids. Now, these children are suffering the consequences of late management of those diseases. Those that are lucky, found out when they did medical tests for schools as teenagers. Others were not so lucky.

The culture of not doing annual physicals has led to the early death of many Nigerians. The fear of not wanting to know and the unwillingness to spend time & money (when you have it) on medical examinations has killed many. A full physical takes three hours. If you do it in a hospital that has a fully equipped lab, you’ll get most of your test results on the same day. Please do a comprehensive physical this year.

For more of my random thoughts about life, you should get my new book, UNSCRIPTED.

Parents, you owe your children full disclosure of hereditary illnesses and predispositions. Click To Tweet The culture of not doing annual physicals has led to the early death of many Nigerians. Click To Tweet