Case study – What is the issue?

Steps for change by a health worker from Nigeria

The situation

“After graduation from medical school I was posted to a rural hospital in Mashegu, northern Nigeria, to serve as primary care physician under the National Youth Service Scheme. I met the hospital in dilapidated condition. Within a few months I discovered that most of the rural people who were supposed to be served by the hospital were not attending.

There was a case of a three year old little girl who was brought to the clinic, she was severely dehydrated and too weak to even cry, having been suffering from diarrhoea since five days before her parents decided to bring her to the hospital. Unfortunately, the girl died within minutes of stepping into the clinic. From that moment, I felt I must act to stop further deaths from highly preventable illnesses. As a doctor, I felt a deep sense of responsibility not to allow this to happen again, after all I am trained to save lives and not watch people die. I felt compelled to do everything within my power to raise the health status of people in rural Mashegu.”

This example was provided by Dr Igboekwu Chukwumuanya from Physicians for Social Justice.

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