10 Avoidable Deaths in Nigeria (& Africa as a Whole)

by Uche Onegeria 19 Jan , 2017  

1. Car accidents
The number of accidents on Nigerian roads can be minimized by expanding and improving our road networks, implementing efficient road signs, and improved driving skills (Federal Road Safety Commission – FRSC, take note). I mean, how can we have public transportation that are literally out of control and death traps to humans? How many of the drivers who man our public vehicles (danfo/molue/taxis and the inter-city buses like from Lagos to Enugu) are truly certified fit to drive us?
Before you get into any public transportation vehicle, ask yourself this; “does my driver have proper road skills? Is he on drugs/alcohol and does he have the proper eye care etc.? Is this car certified safe to be on the road? If we get into an accident, how soon can life-saving aid reach us etc.?”


2. Injuries (Minor and Major)

Many people die maybe because medical attention takes forever to get to them when they have suffered any medical issue or because the available medical facilities cannot meet their health needs.

I bet that maybe 90% of Nigerians who have died from any minor or major injuries would not have if we had adequate medical facilities and practitioners.

3. Some diseases
There are many diseases people contact or have because the proper medical awareness is not raised. Most sexually transmitted diseases our youths and other Nigerians face today might be prevented if parents and secondary school teachers shunned personal sentiments to teach teenagers  the dangers of sex and how they can protect themselves instead of pretending (or expecting) that abstinence is for everyone.
Also many forms of cancer can also be treated if proper medical facilities exist to detect them before they manifest and become terminal.

4. Depression and other psychological issues
We always assume that this is a white man’s disease so we almost never have Psychologists to take care of people with some mental illnesses who might need professional help. Most of these people go on to commit suicide.

5. Self-medication, and Drug overdose/abuse

This is one area that is grossly ignored. Most of us decide to treat ourselves when we get sick. It does not help that more than half of the medications imported into the country are either substandard or outright fake. There is no/very little proper education given to the masses on the side effects or even some deadly results of self-medication.
Anyone can walk into any pharmaceutical store and buy any medication they wish because the Nigerian health ministry ignores the implementation of proper policies to checkmate this.


6. Many medical emergencies

There are instances that you do not want to even imagine happening to you or any of your loved ones in Nigeria. I will tell you a story.
My landlord has a dog (see his image above) called Campbell (everyone calls him Cams). He is this tiny, cute yorkie who everyone just cannot help but fall in love with. Cams has his own special food. We just call them nuggets (nuggies). About 2 months ago, he was eating his dinner and choked on his food. He started foaming from the mouth and was quickly rushed to the hospital. On the way to the hospital (in the car), his tongue was hanging out and everyone thought he was dead.

At the vet’s, he was quickly taken into surgery and survived. At this point, most Nigerians would have said “Thank God” but I would rather thank the system for using their God-given brain to build medical facilities, adequately equip them and have qualified doctors on hand to save lives.
God helps to heal us this way not when we cross our legs and do nothing then hope he comes down from heaven to perform “miracles and wonders”.

7. Various health conditions exacerbated by poor hygiene, lack/poor water supply and electric power
I can go on and on and on about how beneficial it is to our health to have constant and clean water supply and electric power, and how many Nigerian lives will change with these but I will leave you to mull that over. Keywords: fresher, well preserved foods, well ventilated homes etc.

8. Some Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
E.g. Syphilis, Gonorrea, HPV, HIV/AIDS. Most of these diseases (just like the terminal illnesses) can be prevented especially if youths are taught proper and effective sex education in time. Rather than guilt them into not having sex with our usual religious jargons, we should prepare their minds so they can protect themselves if it happens. Because it will happen! The death toll from this can be lessened with proper public and self-awareness of the various diseases and their effects.

9. The usual suspects: (Acute) Malaria, Typhoid etc.
I think that due to the fact that Malaria has become an African thing, we usually underestimate its fatality. Just because many deaths remain inconclusive, does not mean that many diseases like cancer and malaria has not taken many lives. See shocking data below on the death toll from Malaria illnesses.


10. Many allergies and anaphylactic reactions
With inadequate medical facilities, many people who have various forms of allergies live ignorant of their ailments and even what might trigger their attacks. Many just suffer miserably throughout their lives, and hopefully develop some natural immunity to it.


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