Medical challenges among the impoverished

In Nigeria, most hospitals don’t admit or treat patients with little or no money for fear of them not being able to pay up their bills after treatment. In most government-owned hospitals, it is not a strange sight to see people walking the grounds of the hospital asking for help with some money to aid them in paying their loved ones medical bills. A minister told of an incident where a poor little boy who was in critical condition and required surgery died in a hospital bed; his parents were very poor and had no money to afford his medical bills. Sadly, there are far too many cases like his; at times it’s a child, and at other times, it’s an elderly man or woman who can’t even afford to look themselves properly.

Unethical Practices

While some poor people go to hospitals when they get sick and then appeal to relatives, friends, and even strangers to help them with their bills, most poor people don’t go to the hospital for fear of not being able to afford the medical bills. Speaking generally now, I agree that almost everything is a bit too expensive for most poor people, and hospitalized healthcare is surely one of those things as far as they are concerned – and that’s quite understandable.

Besides, a lot of medical equipment and pharmaceutical products used in Nigeria are externally manufactured and then imported into the country from other nations such as China, India etc. The end-users often have to pay a sizeable amount of money to have these things anytime they need them; even when the government subsidizes or purchases these things and deposits them in government hospitals, most of the time it never gets to the poor who need them because some greedy persons (who work in that same government hospital) would usually buy up a large part of the supplies and resell them elsewhere (outside the hospital) just to make a higher profit.

Environmental Concerns

Many poor people are exposed to malaria and have no means of protecting themselves from mosquito bites and infections. In the same way, too many poor little children – some of them orphans – die from malaria on a regular basis just because they live in dirty environments or waterlogged areas that breed a lot of mosquitoes; I have been to orphanages and even the home of a certain widow with three little orphan girls and seen how that they had no mosquito nets to prevent mosquito bites; this is because a mosquito net is far more expensive than food and they simply cannot afford to buy one!
In the bible, the prophet Jeremiah delivered a word from the Lord and it reads like this…

“For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt. I am mourning; astonishment has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people?” – Jeremiah 8:21-22 NKJV

The Dilemma

Nigeria’s healthcare system has no provisions for easy and affordable treatment for the poor, orphans, and widows. Only politicians, the rich and those who work in corporate outfits can afford health insurance; it does not extend to the poor or widows because the government simply cannot get it done. So, the poor are left with no other choice than to seek the best alternatives for their health or recovery from illness; they resort to the use of local herbs and medicinal potions which are effective to an extent but helpless against certain health conditions.

Our Hope

Although there is some degree of difficulty, it is possible for charities and individuals to provide some help for these poor people through the purchase and distribution of medical supplies such as malaria nets and anti-malarial drugs. I’m certain you would agree with me that God wants everybody well, healthy and strong, and does not want the poor, widows, and orphans to be considered or treated as lesser-standard citizens.