- The Storried Platform
By Michael Chimaobi
It started with a friend’s comment on a Facebook post. He’d mentioned that Nigerians have a life expectancy of 47 years. That Nigerians live on the average for only 47 years. I was shocked and this prompted me to make a little research and I ended up with something not far from what the my friend had pointed out; Nigerian men are expected to live approximately 53 years while the females are expected to live 55 years. This came from the May 2016 life expectancy data published by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Nigeria ranked 177 only slightly above 8 other world countries. Giant of Africa indeed?
Why do we pride in that status when even poorer African nations like Rwanda, Mozambique and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) all have a higher life expectancy rate than the almighty Nigeria. Even disaster and war-torn countries like South Sudan, Rwanda, Haiti, Yemen, Afghanistan are ranked higher than Nigeria. This Means that citizens of these countries will, on the average, live longer than Nigerians! Giant that does not have long life span, is that one giant?
Indeed, this is mostly contrary to what we come across here because our people live way above that benchmark. Tough folks. But it doesn’t stop me from taking this up: why won’t we die early when we have a wretched health system. A close friend of mine died last month because the hospital lacked the capacity to treat appendicitis. According to her mother, her daughter’s condition worsened after a faulty surgery. She died.
Most Nigerian doctors are top notch, this I can say authoritatively. There are only a few quacks here and there providing relatively cheap services that lure poor folks (like the one who tried to treat my late friend) but these folks are more like hunters headed to the bushes with nothing but clubs. How would they save lives when all the necessary facilities are so far fetched.
Even if these facilities are in place, Nigerians are poor! How do we afford the best remedies when poverty has washed our heads bald and chewed our shoe soles halfway. We can’t afford basic medical treatment! This is why Papa Emeka would rather just go and get malaria drugs from a drugstore in the neighborhood when he has a headache and then pray that he’s treating the right ailment. This is probably why Mama Njideka would rather go to church and pray against the enemy that is attacking her with fibroid.
Despite Nigeria priding itself as the largest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about $500 billion, and one of the world’s fastest growing economies in the world, our people are poor! That’s the truth. Last year, UNICEF raised the alarm that Nigeria stands to lose a total number of 300,000 children within the ages of 0-5 years to acute malnutrition in 2016, if drastic measures were not swiftly put in place to tackle the malnutrition.
World Health Ranking (WHR) also showed that Nigeria rates high among countries in the world with malnutrition.
I wonder how they did this (the government)–making us look so robust that we earned ‘largest African economy’ title when we are just threadbare. Why won’t that man in the slums die early when he’s racking his head trying to find solutions to all the financial crisis that rocks him from all sides: Landlord wahala, children’s school fees, wife pregnancy that is getting due, high blood pressure that needs medical attention, etc. When many Nigerians get so frustrated and depressed every time that they see death as the ultimate escape, why won’t we have low life expectancy?
With the rate of crime in both high and low places, death-related risks are in enormous amounts; terrorism, armed robbery, cultism, ritual killings, etc. There are many things existing in our dear country that can lead us to our early graves.
Cut. Suffice this to say that the statistics by WHO is totally factual and based on solid findings. There is no single reason why we should live longer than what the WHO statistical inference. But because we are Nigerians, somehow, just somehow, many of us end up living up to 100 years, staring the WHO statistics into the eye and lifting a middle finger at it. We survive. Maybe God put us here because he knows our skin is tough enough to hold forte against the pressure. We survive; Nigerians survive. Maybe someone else might just give up even before the start. And like my friend would jokingly say to Non-Nigerians: “You can be in an abusive relationship and survive, but you cannot be in Nigeria and survive if your father and your mother are not Nigerians.”
By Michael Chimaobi
It started with a friend’s comment on a Facebook post. He’d mentioned that Nigerians have a life expectancy of 47 years. That Nigerians live on the average for only 47 years. I was shocked and this prompted me to make a