As I write this, thousands of miles from my homeland of Nigeria, I think on the path that led me to Public Health. I often wonder when people talk of healthcare disparities, if they can ever truly grasp what it means, what crushing poverty entails, and even what an underdeveloped nation looks like. I was born and raised in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, a place where most people are suffering from one disease or another, conditions that are either unknown in the US, or are highly preventable. I never wondered who would help, or raise awareness; I was that someone.
To my mind, Public Health is the most important aspect of Medicine. It can help prevent and bring solutions to health issues like no other field. In the Niger delta region of Nigeria, multinational oil companies have polluted the rivers and stream used by ordinary people for their livelihood. The situation is dire. People cannot fish nor do anything due the omnipresent oil polluting the water, choking oxygen and sunlight from sustaining ecosystems. Compounding the problems are elevated illiteracy rates, and a general lack of preventative medicine and education results in rampant preventable diseases. The health system needs serious reform and the right management. Policy makers have failed to think long term and properly. My people are suffering from neglect in all spheres of their existence as humans, especially in the health sector. The outside world thinks on the ongoing plague of HIV/AIDS, but this is only one part of our massive set of issues.
Nigeria currently has one of the highest infection rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the world and the trend continues. This is a result of poor policy and short sightedness. I am adamant that change must come. My studies in public health will go a very long way to helping me grasp the proper concepts and tools needed to work with the government to bring sustainable solutions to problems besieging the Niger Delta. I have lived in...
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