Following the World Health Organisation’s official declaration that Nigeria is Ebola free, a public health personnel, Dr Noimoh Balogun, has called on the government and citizens to increase social marketing for the healthcare system, which would help keep the nation on its feet.
“For the first time in many years, I was really happy to be a Nigerian,” she said about the announcement , adding that “I’m happy that for once, we decided to solve our problem.”
Appearing as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Balogun noted that for the Ebola problem, Nigerians “came together to solve it and it worked”.
“The only thing it has given to me is hope. Hope and more hope that (definitely), since we can win this Ebola war, then we can win a lot of public health issues”, including high rate of maternal and child mortality, domestic violence, slum maintenance etc.
“If that political will is there, if that commitment is there and if people are ready to come together to work collaboratively, then indeed we can.”
She also highlighted that the Ebola success story was as a result of social capital.
“I actually saw a muli-sectorial approach towards combating a problem” as virologists, social workers, health educators, public health physicians, clinical physicians worked together to combat the disease and “we saw people bring out their skills and it worked,” she added.
She noted the fact that Nigeria could not have the ZMAPP drug it requested from the United States, prompted health workers to swing into action.
“We were able to show the world that indeed Nigeria, with it’s local skills and human resources, can actually achieve a great deal.”
She noted that the declaration of Nigeria as Ebola-free was a rare success story for the nation.
“For once, people could identify Nigeria with success. For once, we could say Nigeria has a robust health system compared to other countries in Africa.”
She advocated for the will for government and citizens to make decisions irrespective of associations and affiliations.
She further advocated social marketing for the healthcare system, noting that “one thing that has been lacking is the fact that health is not marketed in a social way.
“Health is not marketed in a way that if I’m healthy, then I’ll be productive. If I’m productive, then I’ll contribute to the national growth. If I contribute to national growth, then Nigeria would have a GDP that would eventually help me in my own per capita income. That way you are able to translate health to wealth.”
She opined that citizens would be more interested in community development “when you start to monitise the quality of life you are living”.