The Effectiveness of Health Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria

What is the purpose of having Millennium Development Goals when they are impractical for several developing countries and can only be achieved in a utopia?  MDGs in Nigeria are recognized, but how many national public service leaders actually make a strategic planning effort to achieve them? MDG #6 focuses on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. However, Nigeria’s eradication of polio was the closest success the nation has had, when it comes to achieving some of the components of goal #6.

Nigeria still battles with controlling the rate of HIV/AIDS & treating individuals with the virus. On the other hand, “malaria contributes to eleven percent of maternal related deaths in Nigeria and is prevalent in fifty percent of children between the ages of 6-59 months.” [1]

According to The National Agency for the Control of AIDS, only thirty percent of individuals living with HIV have access to antiretroviral drugs.  Fifty-eight percent of individuals that are aware of their HIV status are females. [2] The statistics provided by NACA are very alarming. First and foremost, it is not in the priority of most hospitals and clinics to provide antiretroviral drugs to individuals that cannot afford it.  In 2003, The Center for the right to Health filed a lawsuit against a Lagos hospital that denied a 39 year old woman vital medications and an essential injection.[3] In Nigeria, the sex industry is booming and having multiple sexual partners is common. Getting tested for an STD is not a priority for a lot of individuals because it has no immediate effect on them. On the other hand, individuals who know that they test positive for HIV are usually ashamed to seek treatment, lack the funds to pursue treatment and/or are usually not a part of the health insurance scheme.

At a meeting in Port Harcourt, President Goodluck Jonathan addressed the Economic Community of West African States on the current amount being spent on malaria control. According to the nation’s highest leader, “four hundred and eighty billion naira is spent on malaria treatment and prevention.”[4] However, the ministry was unable to provide news journalists with an in-depth financial report on malaria spending.

So I beg to ask the question as to how effective global health MDGs are in Nigeria’s case and many other developing countries? Millennium Development Goals do not take into account individual country resources, institutional structures and systemic challenges. “In Nigeria, malaria has been shown to account for over 40% of the total monthly curative healthcare costs incurred by households compared to a combination of other illnesses; the cost of treating malaria and other illnesses depleted 7.03% of the monthly average household income, and treatment of malaria cases alone contributed 2.91% of these costs.”[5] It is common to hear stories of individuals being driven out of their residences and work places because they have AIDS.

What is then the purpose of having MDGs that do not set practical goals and are not country specific? These development goals are meant to empower developing countries and make them champions of equality and national development. If countries such as Nigeria are not executing global health goals around MDGs, then we need to reevaluate the effectiveness of these development goals being met?


[1] The United States Embassy in Nigeria. “Nigeria Malaria Fact Sheet.”                             http://photos.state.gov/libraries/nigeria/231771/Public/December-MalariaFactSheet2.pdf

[2] “Women, Girls and HIV in Nigeria.” The National Agency For The Control Of AIDS. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2013. http://naca.gov.ng/index2.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=110&Itemid=268

[3] “Nigeria: HIV-positive woman launches suit after being denied treatment.” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: N.p, n.d. Web. 8 August 2013. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14748329

[4]The Punch. “FG spends N480bn on malaria annually.”

[5] “The Economic Burden of Malaria on Households and the Health System in Enugu State Southeast Nigeria.” http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0078362

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