Dear Elected Lawmakers,
It has been a season of elections and you will agree with us that your elections were not won on a platter of gold. You have all fought a good fight. Your elections are a testament to your acceptability to the good people of your constituency and a stamp on your track record.
Now that elections are over, it is time to settle down for the business ahead. As you do so, our passionate appeal to you is that the health of your constituents should be a top agenda for your tenure. Let us remind you about some of the top challenges in the health sector of Nigeria, of which Ondo State shares a significant part.
The doctor-patient gap continues to stare everyone in the face – and has progressively widened because of increasing depletion of doctors in the health sector due to brain drain. According to the World Health Organization, one doctor is expected to a thousand population (1:1000). However, in Nigeria the average is 1 to 10,000 (1: 10,000) and this exhibits regional variation that is dismally worse. As of today, more than 10,500 Nigerian doctors are practicing in the UK alone, aside those in other countries. It might interest you to know that Ondo State has a fair share of these figures. Other challenges of inadequate financing, inadequate infrastructure, insecurity of health workers and inadequate political will are some of the issues befuddling the sector.
As elected lawmakers, you are uniquely placed to influence government decisions on health and related matters. Please, use your position to initiate and support laws and policies that will bring succor to the people you are elected to serve.
However, it must be borne in mind that the executive arm of government alone cannot meet the health needs of the people. It behooves you therefore to see how and where you can contribute directly to improve the health of your people through existing health institutions and structures. Four years is long enough to impact on the people but also short enough for you to be reminded that life is about legacies for posterity. Our advice is that yours should be a heritage to serve and leave positive footprints in the sands of time.
As a body, the Nigerian Medical Association, Ondo State (Ondo NMA) is ready to support you all the way and to provide needed guidance should you choose to ask, as you work to improve the health of your people.
On behalf of Ondo NMA and the entire body of doctors in the State, We say congratulations to you all. May your tenure in this 10th National and State Assemblies be a blessing to you and humanity as seen through the lens of the health of your constituents – and by extension that of the good people of Ondo State.
Let us end our letter with the words of the great French General, Napoleon Bonaparte: “A leader is a dealer in hope.” Our dear legislators, please be the hope for the health of those that elected you and there can be no better time and moment than now. The time is ticking…
We wish you well as you embark on this journey in the next four years.