The economic recession plaguing Nigeria is not news, neither is the fact that almost every sector seems to be suffering from its effects as well. However, Dr. Tochukwu Uwaezuoke has shed light on the possible health effects of the recession on the health of Nigerians.
Uwaezuoke described the recession as a stressful condition, which increases the predisposition of Nigerians to heart diseases and other risk factors such as hypertension. Coupled with this, he also pointed to the regressive health financing methods present in the country as another factor that worsens the light for any who already have some form of disease.
“In addition, it makes it harder for a person who either has heart disease or a predisposing condition to access healthcare especially as healthcare costs are borne out-of-pocket and there are many competing needs for scarce funds,” Guardian quotes him as saying.
Apart from the direct link between the recession and health problems, other indirect links could also manifest and lead to health problems through pathways such as poor nutrition, poor preventive healthcare, and poor adherence to treatment likely due to costs of medications etc.
To counteract this possible effects, Uwaezuoke called for both the government and the people to take necessary actions at the right time. For the government, he advised that policies to assuage the economic hardship be put in place, while for the people, he stated that it is important to carry put health checks regularly despite the challenges of the recession.
“We know that the economic climate is now tough. So, basically, everybody, every adult Nigerian should be checked at least once in a year. That includes blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, ECGs and the basic things”
Parts of this article originally appeared in Guardian Newspapers.