After 50 Years Political Will Still Needed to Improve Child Health

On the Fiftieth Anniversary of the formal creation of the Department of Pediatrics at the University College Hospital of Ibadan, Nigeria Dr Tony Marinho shared observations about the status of child health and the need for greater political will to meet the challenges. He has provided an excerpt of his talk of 18 October 2012 below.

dscn0254a.JPGPoliticians must learn that the elimination of malaria and other health problems is their heavy responsibility, not costly conferences and four wheel drives, but funded health delivery chains, 20million posters and advertising because IGNORANCE ELIMINATION and EDUCATION ARE KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH.

Are there Health/Media Outreach Budgets, Health Ministries/ Media houses meetings and CSR ‘free’ airtime for ‘life-skill’ message advertisements? The UN Secretary General should annually select 50-100 life-skill messages for advertising agencies, the ‘Global Fund Membership’, ‘UN life-skills Partners’ and ‘Global Fund Advert Moral Media’ to disseminate on commercial packaging with UN incentives eg Annual Prizes for ‘Best life-skill Message’, ‘Best Corporation in Life Skill Dissemination’? Only a fool depends on Bill Gates to buy local airtime to save his children. A UN recommended ‘60 minutes of free airtime in 30 second slots’ should be the ‘free message’ contribution from the airwaves.

Commercial Messages out-number ‘life-skill health and social’ messages by 100-1000:1. We need ‘Annual UN/WHO/UNICEF Moral Media Campaigns’ for ‘ignorance elimination’ strategies? Let every commercial message carry a ‘piggyback’ ‘Unrelated Life-skill Message’ free.  Why is pre-pregnancy folic acid, malaria and typhoid information, not taught in schools?

Health messages are a human right. Why cannot Nigerian fathers buy ITNets for their children? Do markets, schools and religious houses have 20m posters with health messages? Politicians make 10m personal posters for votes. A picture IS worth a 1000 words, except in Africa.

Our problems are the CINS of politicians – Corruption, Incompetence, Negligence and Selfishness. There is a lack of political love which works against the malaria-ous child.

Annual professionals’ meetings should provide a feared ‘pressure group’  annual ‘State Of The State, Nation- An Audit’ The current ‘save one million lives’ may help achieve the MDGs. The original MDG team deserve a Noble Prize in Preventive Medicine for saving millions.

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