Not going for regular medical checkup, drinking agbo (local herbs) bought from roadside traders, abusing prescription drugs and many other unhealthy practices are common habits among Nigerians. The only time most Nigerians go to the hospital is when the situation has gone out of hand. Why is that so? Why do some Nigerians take their health and wellbeing for granted, knowing fully well that health is wealth?
We’d feel weak and instead of going to a clinic for diagnosis, we either carry on with our daily activities or ask the nearest chemist to dispense paracetamol and any “good” malaria drug to us. Only when the illness prevents us from moving an inch from our beds do we ask for a medical doctor to come take over. Why is that so? It is a different reasons for different folks. However, these are some of the major reasons:
Lack Of Money
When you are struggling to put food on your table, going for a medical checkup when you don’t feel sick seems like a luxury. And when sickness strikes, it is usually cheaper to buy local herbs than to pay hospital bills, so many opt for that alternative. While local herbs can be just as effective, it can be really difficult to separate the good ones from the bad ones.
Also, taking herbs for many Nigerians is a case of making guesses; they don’t know for sure what it is they are treating. But since there is no money to get proper treatment, they surrender their health to ‘agbo,’ any over-the-counter drug they can afford and fate.
Nigerians are very religious people, the millions of religious houses scattered all over the country bears evidence to that. Satan and evil spirits, many believe, are harbingers of sickness and death. When we go to the church or mosque, we bind and cast these evil spirits. Why then should we worry about our health or go for medical checkups when God is in control? The protective powers of the miracle-working God we serve won’t let us be afflicted by diseases. This is how an average Nigerian thinks.
Time is another luxury that eludes many Nigerians. To make ends meet, we work long hours and the only time we have for ourselves is the dark hours of the night when we sleep. So when we feel weak, we also reach out for over-the-counter prescription drugs or agbo without knowing what exactly is wrong with our body.
The drive to make money clouds our health consciousness.
Whether you believe it or not, the truth remains that there are still a good number of Nigerians who are ignorant about what constitutes drug abuse as well as the benefits of going for regular medical checkup. They often feel taking the drugs that are usually recommended for a particular illness, malaria especially, whenever they are down is healthy enough.
There is still a need for more advocacy and education to increase the literacy level of Nigerians about their health.