In a couple of weeks, residents of Lagos state would elect a new Governor who would direct the affairs of the over 15million residents in the state.
Lagos state is perceived to be the most advanced state, in a number of sectors in Nigeria, with a lot of implications for the health status of the populace.
The human development index of Nigerian is poor with other key health parameters said to be below average on the continent. Nigeria ranks 157 position out of 189 countries.
Now the state would be choosing her next leaders who would be in government house for the next four years. But what should residents be asking for?
A lot of competing needs arise in an attempt to answer the question. But some experts believe that health, education and security are the three pillars on which a decent community should thrive.
Doctors under the Nigerian Medical Association, Lagos State Branch, have organised a gubernatorial debate for candidates in nine different political parties.
They will attempt to answer questions that would focus principally on the Health and Social Welfare of Lagosians.
I hope this would trigger the next Governor to do right by the people. I will tell you why Lagos can not afford to get this wrong.
Nigerians know that Lagos state signify ‘progress’, ‘advancement’, ‘posperity’, ‘freedom’, and the land of excellence. This is the general perception. However, like most things, perception may not be reality – yet a whole of people thrive on this perception.
With a huge, ethnically diverse population living on a small mass of land, the Lagos experience is uniquely challenged. From issues around public health and disease, to healthcare rights and responsibilities of residents, to health insurance for all, to primary healthcare, and to the growing telemedicine space in the state, Lagos is in dire need of purposeful leadership.
The next leader of Lagos should be one who can provide direction, wilful purpose to action, and collaborative team work in the health community that remains largely fragmented. He have to understand that Lagos health care system needs to be propelled on boosters, to catch up with her expanding population.
The next man to lead Lagos should have determined health goals and tenable health outcomes for the masses. The era of ambiguity is over and we must insist on specifics. Numbers and figures must be matched with words.
Take these issues as question samples;
Lagos state is currently a state of filth and rubbish. How can these candidates ensure that the despicable sight of mounds of rubbish never appear on the streets of Lagos?Dr Okolo Emeka
What plans do these candidates have for Health Insurance coverage in Lagos?Dr Ikpe Ronald
Will it be proper for a governor/government to encourage for private sector participation in TeleMedicine – a new field that remains largely uncharted in Nigeria.
Is it not better to have a strong Primary Health Care, rather than partially or totally neglecting that arm of healthcare that underserved over 85% of the Lagos population?
These are many more questions should be posed to these candidates.
On a cheery note, I think I should acknowledge that this debate is a first of its kind in Nigeria. The best should be gotten out of this opportunity that have provided itself on the 30th January 2019 by 4:00 pm at the Radisson Hotel.
It is only when we ask questions and we secure responses from our leaders can we fully understand how well we mean to them and how seriously they consider their offices.
Congratulations to all nine candidates and let the best man win!!!