The right to health is a fundamental human right recognized by international law and is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The right to health encompasses not only the absence of disease but also includes access to healthcare services, adequate nutrition, safe water, and sanitation. However, in Nigeria, the realization of the right to health is impeded by various socio-economic and cultural factors. This thesis aims to explore the socio-economic and cultural factors that impede the realization of the right to health in Nigeria.
Poverty is one of the most significant socio-economic factors that impede the realization of the right to health in Nigeria. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, over 40% of Nigerians live below the poverty line. Poverty limits people’s ability to access healthcare services, pay for medical treatment, and purchase essential medicines. In addition, poverty often leads to malnutrition, which can increase the risk of diseases and impair the immune system.
Unemployment and inequality are other socio-economic factors that affect the realization of the right to health in Nigeria. High unemployment rates and income inequality limit people’s ability to access healthcare services and contribute to poor health outcomes. Inequality in healthcare services also exists, with many rural areas having inadequate healthcare infrastructure and health workers.
Culture plays a significant role in health-seeking behaviors in Nigeria. Traditional beliefs and practices can prevent people from seeking medical treatment or adhering to medical advice. For example, some people believe that illnesses are caused by supernatural forces, and traditional healers are more effective than modern medicine. This belief can lead to delays in seeking medical treatment, which can worsen health outcomes.
In addition, some cultural practices, such as female genital mutilation, can have negative health outcomes. Female genital mutilation increases the risk of complications during childbirth and can lead to chronic pain, infection, and even death.
Inadequate funding for healthcare, corruption in the healthcare sector, and inadequate healthcare policies and programs also impede the realization of the right to health in Nigeria. The government’s inadequate allocation of resources to the healthcare sector has led to poor healthcare infrastructure, low morale among health workers, and inadequate medical supplies. Corruption in the healthcare sector also limits access to healthcare services and increases the cost of medical treatment.
In conclusion, the realization of the right to health in Nigeria is impeded by various socio-economic and cultural factors. Addressing these factors requires a multifaceted approach that involves improving healthcare infrastructure, increasing funding for healthcare, and implementing healthcare policies that are culturally sensitive and responsive. It also requires educating people about the importance of seeking medical treatment and the dangers of traditional beliefs and practices that can negatively impact health outcomes. Addressing these factors will not only improve the health outcomes of Nigerians but also ensure that everyone has access to quality healthcare services, which is their fundamental human right.