My late father suffered a stroke in the morning of December 27 1998 in my hometown of Nnewi, where he lived after his retirement as a civil servant, and while I was visiting on home leave with my family from my UN duty post in Tanzania at the time. That was the first disaster.
The second disaster was that medical doctors have been on strike, as they’re today, and public hospitals were closed. We couldn’t get the proper medical attention for him in time. When anyone has a stroke it’s imperative to get him or her to a hospital ASAP. We discovered a private hospital the next day and took daddy there. Shortly after he went into a coma and passed away two days later. It’s a very painful memory.
My dad died due to a dysfunctional health system. I wept bitterly and hoped that one day I’d have the chance to work for strong health systems. This experience influenced my later joining the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva in a senior function, assigned to The World Fund the place we raised and invested $12 billion to help growing nations like Nigeria develop sturdy prevention and treatment of health pandemics like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB.
However, in Nigeria to my disappointment, corruption in the public sector and some NGOs reduced the impact of these investments by The World Fund, where I headed the worldwide partnerships and resource mobilization function that helped make these investments potential.
If I become President of Nigeria someday, all Nigerians can have Universal Health Care and doctors will have no reason to go on strike because hospitals will be well equipped with drugs and different equipment, doctors will be effectively paid, and as I vowed when I ran for the office in 2019, my government will set up a world-class hospital in each of the six geopolitical zones of our nation to reduce medical tourism.
Human capital investments in health and education must be the number one priority of any nation’s public policy and governance. We won’t depend on international support donors and worldwide organizations for such primary obligations.