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Healthcare Industry January 13, 2023

Overcoming The Fear: Why Nigerians Are Afraid To Go To The Hospital And How To Change That

Medically Reviewed by Pharm Ose Oyakhilome

Written by Adaobi Oduenyi

Many Nigerians may be reluctant or afraid to visit the hospital even if they are experiencing uncomfortable and perhaps life-threatening symptoms for a variety of reasons. Due to financial difficulty and the stigma attached, many Nigerians are embarrassed to address their concerns with a doctor and are afraid to enter a hospital.

This is an issue that ought to be addressed, given the impact, it can have on one's health and well-being. This article will discuss the reasons why Nigerians are afraid of going to the hospital and explore possible solutions to this problem.

“Are you afraid of going to the hospital? You're not alone. Many Nigerians share this fear due to a variety of reasons such as a lack of trust in the healthcare system, financial constraints, cultural beliefs, and underdevelopment.“

Reasons Why Nigerians Are Afraid to Go to the Hospital

  1. Lack of faith in the healthcare system 

Lack of faith in the healthcare system is one of the main causes. Many Nigerians think that medical professionals are more concerned with making money than offering high-quality care.

Stories of medical negligence and corruption in the healthcare sector have fostered this impression. In some institutions, a lack of access to fundamental medical tools and resources might also exacerbate this lack of trust.

  1. Financial constraints

Many Nigerians are poor and unable to pay for expensive medical care, particularly for chronic conditions. Even when their condition is serious, people may avoid hospitals as a result and choose other therapies instead, including traditional medicine.

  1. Cultural beliefs

Some people think that some diseases are brought on by supernatural forces and can only be treated with conventional or spiritual methods. This may result in a preference for alternative treatments over medical care and a reluctance to seek therapy.

  1. Underdevelopment

  • Lack of funding can make it difficult for healthcare providers to access the resources and equipment they need to provide high-quality care.

  • Limited access to healthcare: this can lead to a lack of healthcare infrastructure, such as hospitals and clinics, in rural or remote areas. This can make it difficult for people who live in these areas to access medical treatment.

  • Limited access to technology: it limits access to advanced medical technology, such as diagnostic tools and medical devices, which can impact the quality of care provided.

  • High poverty rates: this can make it difficult for individuals and families to afford medical treatment.

  • Inadequate education: this makes it difficult for individuals to understand the importance of modern medical treatment and the dangers of relying solely on traditional or spiritual forms of care.

A multifaceted strategy will be needed to address the issues that cause Nigerians to fear visiting the hospital. Potential remedies include the following:

  1. Increasing financing for the healthcare system, providing resources and training to healthcare professionals, and putting policies in place to stop medical malpractice and corruption can all help to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare.

In addition, expanding the number of hospitals and clinics in underserved regions can improve access to healthcare for residents of rural and isolated locations.

  1. The implementation of a national health insurance policy, which would make medical care more accessible for low-income individuals and families, is one option to address financial restrictions. In addition, putting in place policies that support economic growth and fight poverty can enhance people's and families' overall financial circumstances, making it simpler for them to pay for medical care.

  2. The public can be informed about the value of contemporary medical care and the risks of relying only on traditional or spiritual forms of treatment in order to address cultural beliefs. Incorporating traditional or spiritual healing techniques into contemporary medical care can also aid in addressing cultural issues while still delivering effective care.

  3. Encourage Public-Private Partnership: By fostering PPPs, we can improve healthcare access while easing the strain on the public healthcare system. Modern medical equipment will be more widely available as a result, and healthcare will be of higher quality.

  4. Invest in the healthcare technology industry: Telemedicine, Electronic Health Records (EHRs), Medical devices, Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence (AI), Mobile health online appointment scheduling and payment systems all of these has the potential to greatly improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare in Nigeria and can help to address the underlying issues that contribute to fear of going to the hospital.

In conclusion, there are many other factors, such as a lack of faith in the healthcare system, financial constraints, cultural preconceptions, and underdevelopment, that may contribute to Nigerians' potential fear of visiting the hospital. 

An all-encompassing strategy is required to address these problems, one that addresses cultural views, financial limits, transparency and communication, public-private partnerships, raising the standard of living of the populace, and the use of technology to deliver solutions like telemedicine and electronic health records. 

A major contributor to the issue is under development, which must be addressed by enhancing the political, social, and economic environments as well as funding new medical facilities and technologies.

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