promoting girl child education

promoting girl child education through anti-AIDs club youth training and quizz competition

About 40 youths (mostly girls) from 10 selected secondary schools in Akoko South East Local government of Ondo state in nigerian were trained for 3 days and the training was rounded off with anti-AIDS quizz competition  from October to November 2012.One of the participants ( a girl child) is receiving a bursart scholarship award to help pay for her final secondary school exams

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Health-related MDGs in third world countries : Scale-up of public PHC is a sine qua non

Health-related MDGs in third world countries : Scale-up of public PHC is a sine qua non.

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Health-related MDGs in third world countries : Scale-up of public PHC is a sine qua non

With less than 2 years to the deadline for Millennium Development Goals, many developing   third world  countries still struggle to record success in the achievement of the goals.While private health insitutions play a pivotal role in healthcare provision, the costs are often expensive with poor value for money.The many pieces of evidence in favor of private sector scale up in the  provision of primary health care (PHC) are weak, costly  and fail to integrate the poor that constitute largest percentage in third world nations.As 2015 deadline for MDGs draws near, it will be necessary to scale up public health facilities in the provision of PHC such as maternal and child care to fast track achievement of  health-related MDGs. Despite difficulties and bottlenecks in many nations, publicly-provided PHC still leads in terms of high performance, equity and coverage.

Introduction

Whether health related MDGs will be achieved come 2015 especially in developing nations will rely on massive  scale-up in publicly-provided primary health care services. Several international organizations are now in favor of private sector delivery of PHC in fulfilling this goal. While private sector has a role to play, it will not be irrelevant to re-evaluate the many arguments  used in favor of a scale up of private facilities in providing primary health care .A scale up  and proliferation of private facilities  may  be a dangerous approach to delivery of PHC which more often than not is patronized by poor people. As deaths from preventable diseases are on a daily rise, failure in this regard leaves many unsaved from early deaths.The critical question will be how can such massive scale up be realized?

 A predominantly private provision of PHC hampers realization of MDGs

The first argument in favor of provision of PHC via private facility is that a significant provider of such services already exist in  most nations( both developed and developing)  and so, it must be  a central point of scale up. More than 50% PHC in African is via private facilities. However  evidence shows that many of these so called private hospitals are small drug-selling shops and abortion centers owned by chemists. The number falls if small shops are removed and only trained staff clinic are counted. World Bank also reported that despite 83% private provision of PHC in India, the same system denies more than half  of mothers  hospital delivery assistance.It adds that more than half Africans have no medical assistance. The case of private provision should be argued on the basis of additional benefis when compared with public provision and not just on some measures that significant private providers exist.

Second,  the other argument is that providing PHC via private facilities will generate additional investment to financially dry public sector. However, private provision in a low income risky market demands  for public subsidy .Enormous competition exists among private providers for the inadequate trained health workers in most nations.

Third,  it has been said that private provision of PHC will help to save cost with better results. However this is associated with higher rather than lower costs. Take for instance Lebanon, a highly privatized PHC in developing world spends more than  half  that of Sri Lanka in PHC but its maternal and infant mortality is three and 2.5 times worse respectively. Profit orientation of private facilities raise cost by offering profitable therapy  rather than those mandated by medical needs.For instance , the life  saving caesarean section (CS) in Lagos, Nigeria costs an average of $1200(#180,000- #200,000).This has prevented many at risk  low income  pregnant women from hospital delivery.Many of them that book in private facilities oftentimes deliver outside hospital setting when aware of the cutthroat cost of delivery.There are also instances of caesarean sections carried out for personal gains by way of patient extortion. Chile is a highly privatised PHC but its caesarean section rate ranks highest in the world making delivery more costly and many CS unwarranted.

WHO has reported that offering PHC via private facility will lead to fall in preventive and less profitable healthcare as seen in China where immunization decline by 50% after 5 years of reforms while prevalence of TB and measles are increasing. Privatization introduces market forces to healthcare and market failures is inevitable. For instance,private facilities have no incentive to provide heathcare for those who cannot pay since they are profit oriented.It is common to deny  poor patients access to healthcare in private setting.This has contributed more to deaths and setback in realization of MDGs in third world nations.The information assymetry also means client can be incorrectly diagnosed and given  lofty  treatment prescription to get more money.This leads to poor quality, overcharging and undertreatment .The Cambodia experience also shows that contracting out is not a solution to PHC delivery being fraught with corruption.

Fourth, the superior quality of private facilities lack evidence. Private facilities often perform worse than public  ones in terms of technical quality.  It has been reported  in Nigeria that only 37% cases of STI compared to 57% and 96% cases were correctly treated by contracted private, large and small public facilities respectively.Many private facilities lack the expertise to offer PHC services which translate to higher morbidity and mortality. In Nigeria for instance, more than 180 private facilities were closed  down in 2007 for not able to meet minimum staff traning and basic hygeine standards.Most of these private health facilities add to the woes and problems of patients rather than solving them. Poor quality often characterizes an unregulated private facility which in turn endangers lives of many people.

Fifth, PHC is the first  point of contact and the closest healthcare to the people, therefore rather than assisting the poor, providing PHC via private facilities will make heath care inequitable since only the rich who can afford it will get it .In this vein, it has been demonstrated that  increased participation of private  sector in PHC is associated with higher levels of exclusion of the poor from medical therapy.

Finally, no evidence supports the fact that providing PHC predominantly via private facility will make PHC more responsive or less corrupt than the publicly-provided PHC.Even in wealthy nations like America it has always been difficult to regulate private providers . World bank  reported in 2008  that healthcare fraud cost America not less than $12-$23 billion every year.  WHO in 2008 also reported that in  Sri Lank, Botswana, Cuba, and Malaysia etc., commitment on the part of government  in  provision of PHC has helped to reduce child mortality and fast track MDGs .In similar vein, Timor Liste and Uganda have used coordinated donor funding of public facilities to  expand public provision. With this, Timor Liste increased the proportion of  skilled birth attendant from 26% to 41% in three years .

Making public provision work is a matter of political will, popular support, ample investment and evidence based policies. These conditions will help public system in  gaining economies of scale for standardization and improved quality and lower inequality. India investment in public provision of PHC helped her reduce rural urban inequalities.Third world nations could learn from best practices across the world in their committed effort in fast tracking MDGs.We need more  public district hospitals that will attend to the needs of patients at the  PHC levels.Maternal and child care should be affordable at all levels so that no one would die for lack of money.By this measure, we would be heading towards achievement of health related MDGs which open the doors for other goals.

Recommendations and conclusion

Existing private providers need to be incorporated into public facilities. In a low income country like Nigeria, offering PHC via private provision is irrelevant for the majority of citizens where more than 70%  live on less than $1 per day. There is therefore a need for a predominantly publicly administered PHC that is bereft of cutthraot userfees. PHC need to be excluded from regional /international trade agreement. Civil society need to come in as complement rather than substiute, monitoring  government spending and holding government accountable.The  aforementioned  arguments do not negate the obvious challenges facing public sector say in Nigeria and Africa and does not exclude private sector role in providing PHC. Where the argument however  lies is that achievement of equitable and universal PHC requires making public sector work as majority provider of PHC most especially in third world countries.

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My reflections on World Malaria Day 2013

                        My reflections on World Malaria Day 2013

 By Adepoju Victor Abiola

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     It is no news that April 25 of every year is dedicated to the celebration of the World Malaria Day. On this day, it is not uncommon that academics, experts, NGOs, volunteer workers all in the field of malaria come together to discuss issues that border on achieving a world that is free of the killer disease called malaria. Nigeria is not left behind as she joins contemporary nations in the event of this year’s world malaria day. The ‘Doctors Discuss Malaria’ is a high panel discussion cum brainstorming sessions that brought together doctors from the nooks and cranny of Lagos State to discuss newest developments that border the prevention, diagnosis, treatment of uncomplicated and complicated malaria. The event took place at the NAN Media Center of the National Theatre Iganmu, Lagos. The  forum was aimed at updating professionals on latest evidence based development as opposed to eminence based practice in this field.Part of the objectives is to help in better containment of the disease and fast-tracking of the MDG 6 that focuses on combating HIV,malaria and other disaeses.The article provides a synopsis of some of the discussions that ensue in this historic high panel discussions that brought together malaria scholars, academics,  representatives of Lagos State Ministry of Health, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Lagos State Permanent Secretary for Health, WHO, Epidemiologists, Medical Consultants, professors as well as general medical practitioners .The event was solely sponsored by Exxon Mobil Nigeria, an organization that has demonstrated committed effort in the eradication of malaria in Nigeria over the last few years.  

Reinforcing Malaria Diagnostic system

      Malaria is a big deal in all developing countries most especially in places like Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo that jointly contribute 40% to the global mortality burden of malaria.It is no more news that one child dies of malaria every 60 seconds. One major and often overlooked impediment in the fight of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa among other factors is the inappropriate diagnosis of malaria. Many cases (up to 75%) of febrile illnesses have been treated without proper prior diagnosis. This has led to underreporting despite the fact that malaria is one of the 40 notifiable diseases. In many other cases individuals and sometimes caregivers go ahead and treat malaria even when results show negative parasite load. Although microscopy is the gold standard for the diagnosis of malaria ,this has to be ‘expert microscopy’ to fallstall  over-diagnosis/under-diagnosed as well as overtreatment/undertreatment.Expert handling of microscopy is often  lacking in places like rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kit is the handy option for rapid diagnosis of malaria. It is cheap, handy, easy to use and both highly sensitive and specific.

     The challenge however lies on its low availability and access to these kits for easy diagnosis. In cases where the RDTs are available, there is also the risk of purchasing counterfeit ones which give wrong results. The WHO guideline encourages diagnosis of malaria before treatment. It encourages that a second different method be used in case when first result is doubtful and an individual can only be said to be truly free of malaria after two negative results. Other bad practice that contributes to resistance and persistence of malaria include noncompliance with the WHO recommendation of Artemissillin based combination therapy (ACTs) in the treatment of malaria. It is common in developing countries for individuals and caregivers to administerr monothrapy and non-ACTs which often lead to treatment failure and treatment resistance. Eminence-based and experience-based practices dominate the treatment of malaria in third world and this strangulate the spirit of achieving zero level malaria

Dymistifying assessment and treatment of malaria

     Some of the age long myths surrounding malaria in sub-Saharan Africa include the conception that all febrile illnesses have bearing with malaria, e.g. meningococcal meningitis versus cerebral malaria. This has led to incessant missed diagnosis of more grievous conditions other than malaria with attendant mortality and morbidity. Physicians also often fall into the misconception of arbortifacent risk of quinine in pregnant women. There is equally the myth of intravenous artesunate resulting in hypotension. There are no significant evidence based data that support these myths at the moment and quinine can still be administered to pregnant women in all semesters. In addition  is the demystification of common and widely held theoretical risk of jaundice in the new-born when fansidar is administered after 36 weeks in pregnant women. Recent studies have however successfully shown otherwise and fansidar can be administred after 36 weeks.

Malaria in the non-immune

     This has to do with the treatment of malaria in expatriates who often lack immunity to malaria. The expatriates are often individuals not born and bred in malaria endemic zones but are resident by way of their job, on visitation or other purposes. It is important that such individuals take ownership of their health conditions and adhere to treatment prescription by their physicians.This is important  in that malaria cases in such non-immune expatriates is rapidly fatal and can kill in less than 24hrs if not properly addressed.Expatraites must adhere to drug treatments from their physicians by observing the ABCD:Adhere,avoid Bite, Come to the hospital and religiously take their Drugs.Malarone once daily, Mefloquinine once per week as well as Doxycycline once daily still remain treatment modalities for malaria in the non-immune.Physcians (mostly those in Oil and Gas setting) that come in contact with these special categories of people must be proactive in their management.

Streghtnening emergency management system for malaria

     Another prominent issue  in this year’s World Malaria Day high panel discussion forum  is the emphasis that was placed on  the need to streghten emergency care for children and adults with complicated malaria. Of course malaria is often complicated by respiratory difficulty, urinary problem from kidney damage, circulatory collapse from shock, anemic heart failure among many other acute complications.These often result in high morbidity and mortality.The fight against malaria will necessitate prompt diagnosis,recognition and high index of suspicion of malaria induced complications especially in under 5 children where failure to do so might result in rapidly progressive fatality. Our ambulance system must be reinforced;complicated malaria referral system to higher centres from primary level need to be speeded up.Physcians must take cognizance of possible complications that may arise from acute malaria and be proactive in  their management approach.

Invest in the future, defeat malaria: the way forward

     As the country joins the world for this year’s celebration of World Malaria Day, the task of achieving a malaria free Nigeria and perhaps a malaria free Africa is not an impossibility. Of a truth Nigeria has what it takes to join other African nations like Morocco who have been certified as malaria free in recent years. This onerous task lies on individuals, health workers involved in the treatment of malaria and the Nigerian government. As we advocate for availability of ACTs as Over the Counter drugs (OTCs) ,individuals must comply with full course dosage and desist from monotherapy and incomplete dosaging or malaria treatment without confirmation. Our sanitary efforts must escalate.Homes,gutters, and our environment at large must be clean and devoid of bushes and wastes that encourage the proliferation of malaria vectors. Proper hygiene and sanitation are indispensable in this fight and this boils down to indviduals.We must take responsibility of our health and kill malaria before it devastates our generation.

     On the part of health workers, we must eschew managing malaria out of pity or sympathy for our patients. The three Ts must be followed i.e Test, Treat and Track. No malaria should be treated without confirmation as a matter of fact. There will be no more room for statum dose of ACTs as the minimum this can be administered is 24 hrs. The government role is pivotal in this capacity being the umpire of legislations and policy drive that dictate the dynamic approach to this cankerworm. We need support from government at all levels be it local, state as well as federal. In Nigeria for instance, we need establishment of malaria control units at primary health care level and genuine rapid diagnostic test kits should be provided to aid quick and proper diagnosis of malaria before treatment. We challenge the federal government of Nigeria to also sponsor a bill that forbids monotherapy in the treatment of malaria and other non-evidence based treatment approaches like the use of chloroquine as well as its ban from crossing our boirders.There may also be need to build more houses and this can be subsidised for poor people to reduce the level of overcrowding that contributes to malaria transmission in Nigeria.

     Malaria being a disease that account for 7 out of every 10 outpatient visit in Nigeria is a big deal and it will not be asking for head of John the Baptist to invest 60% of budgetary allocation to healthcare on malaria. Eradicating malaria is no joke and will require commitment on the part of government with financial support from NGOs,well-meaning individuals, philantropists who would not just invest but demand accountability by setting up a quality assurance feedback system on funds pumped into malaria control. This would ensure corruption is at barest minimum and money meant for malaria eradication is properly channelled. The present  malaria drugs in stock were donated many years back and donors have not responded by bringing more drugs implying a possible come-back to era where malaria drugs were expensive is looming .Therefore, we also need to ensure that malaria drugs are truly subsidized and cost reduced from present average of $6 to $0.5 which is affordable by the poor.. With all these in place, a world free of malaria may not be far from Nigeria just like the situation is in Europe and America.Nigeria may in a few years say a final goodbye to malaria and the agelong mutual pathological affection between the duo.

 

 

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A reflection on my Internship rotation:Eliminating poverty is central to achievement of the 8 MDGs It was like yesterday that I resumed my pediatric posting. It was a much anticipated posting for me.The reasons are not farfetched. For one , I became worried seeing my colleagues who had gone through the posting how stressed they always appear most times to a proportion that I almost mistaken them for non doctors .They were overwhelmed with stress, no time to change after call, no time to relax. Not even the slightest corporate dressing and they sometimes appear haggard in their ghetto-like wears. No thanks to the society who still erroneously see doctors as the luckiest soul being financially rewarded. Of course doctors are under remunerated only taking solace in the self assurance and euphoria of heavenly gains for all good works. I had vouched never to lead this pattern of life when I got to pediatric rotation .Pediatrics happen to be my third rotation having passed through medicine as well as O and G.I enjoyed Medicine better mainly because I was left to take decisions most times which was though challenging but gave me opportunity to improve myself. Many thanks to all those that make my experience in pediatric rotation worthwhile. My colleagues for their support and cooperation, my seniors for the tutorship and guidance. The nurses for their friendliness and much needed timely support. Much more importantly the consultants who make themselves available for supervision, education and tutelage. Initially I had preferred to go through this pediatrics somewhere else where the stress is less and more hands are on ground. This was obviously unrealistic. My hospital was short staffed. Few consultants, a handful medical officers and scanty houseofficers.Most decision were taken by interns. Though this was demanding, nonetheless as I leave pediatrics behind, I look back with incurable nostalgic feeling missing the department a lot. I am leaving behind those sleepless nights when I was faced with difficult lines.I felt I was obliged and condemned to go through pediatrics posting. But I was wrong and I was right.I was right in that though stressful, I found fufilment in what I do.I became happy when I later see a child who was brought to emergency unit dying and gasping, struggling for breath now walking aroung , playing and living few days later.I felt like an exceptional mortal.The feeling was like that of a superman being ratified by the creator. I became excited that through my divively ordained talisman hands, I had again changed the condemnation of another potential mortal to immotality.This to me is the greatest service I can render to human kind. I take it as my contribution towards achievement and realization of MDG 3 which is aimed at reducing child death by 75% at the end of 2015.It is true I may not get compensated for my extra work.The unsolicited assistance I render to new interns in the department , the staying behind beyond the normal duty time because I had to conclude my attending to a patient, the haphazard branching at the A&E just to say hi to my colleaques on call only to be caught in the web of assisting and attending to a child. I believe all these will be compensated by Jah in many ways. It is true that many children have dying, it is also a gospel truth that many died while I was in the unit, it is also equally apparently bitter truth and pathetic though that many more will still die of the big fives of child killers in developing countries- severe anemia from severe malaria, diarrhea, measles, malnutrition and chest infections. The fact however is that I had relentlessly contributed my own portion towards the safety of these dying children. Sometimes I asked myself where I got the motivation. I have no interest in specializing in pediatrics, no special flair for taking care of children. My motivation however understandably stem from a single fact- my undying commitment to do my work without leaving any stone unturned, without leaving any space for regret anytime, any day and at every point in time . My ruggedness that emanated from combining medical school and perhaps medical career now with innumerable online freelancing without allowing one to affect the other. My commitment towards excellence in all that I do is the only motivation and driving force. Call it machine, call it ‘eshin’, and call it workaholic and all sorts of epithets. One fact remains, I may not have encounter with pediatrics again in my lifetime, however the competence and confidence inculcated so far will go a long way to help in my future career. What about my children that may like any other child fall sick? What about the society that I live that seeks for medical advice and help on their children? The best way to provide solution to a problem is by experiencing it, passing through it, witnessing it and may be managing it. My incurable passion circles around preventive medicine. I believe in preventing disease rather that running around for a solution after they occur. This in most cases is late. I hate seeing these children dying. We have lost champions to the big five killer diseases. 7 out of every 10 admission in pediatric emergency unit in developing countries are suffering from complicated malaria. Indeed malaria sucks blood, moreso children’s blood mercilessly. They die every day and nothing active is being done. Nigeria as a prototype of developing nation still has a long way to go. We can no longer afford to lose our innocent children .We must first and foremost realize that the life of every child is worth saving be it the child of the poor or rich. Therefore, eliminating extreme poverty captured by the MDG goal one is the most important, reliable and plausible way forward. Let’s face it, when this is not resolved, all the other goals become a daydream. Malaria is an ill wind that blows no one good. It is disheartening that with all efforts we are still unable as a nation to overcome this cankerworm that daily devours our children voraciously. As I said earlier, the starting point is to realize that every child’s life is worth saving and we must put facility in various hospitals and health centers to ensure likewise. Poverty is a disease . The golden rule is “Never bring a child that you will not be able to take care of into this world”. Children are valuable assets .They are the leaders of tomorrow. They are the future of this nation. It grieves when I imagine how many children have been lost to preventable diseases. Unlike the biblical Jesus of Nazareth whose life was sought after but never caught, ,I wonder how many Nigerian Jesuses (our under five children) have been prematurely orphaned by infirmities and preventable diseases when the cold hands of death sentence them to the irrevocable journey into mortality. Nigeria has lost champions and world changers. Who knows how many messiah(s) she has sacrificed on the bloody alter of the big fives. We cannot afford to lose more ! We must erect structures to strangulate poverty at all levels. All Nigerians must have a minimum of daily food on their table .Policies that target prevention should be consolidated and advocated rather than dwelling on provision of drugs that would never be available or accessible or are rather too expensive to procure. As I round off my reflections, I say to the soulless killer of souls (death), let me remind you that you shall one day be required of your own life. Then your ignorance and foolhardiness in believing that you can take a child’s life without question will surely be poopoohed and overtly exposed. And finally to the power intoxicated powers-that- be, let me remind you that it is not yet the judgment day.

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Nigeria and Unemployed youths: Slaughtering the Beveridge Giant of Idleness

“You take my life when you do take the means whereby I live” –The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, William Shakespeare.

Although Williams Beveridge described the five giant evils of poverty, idleness(unemployment), squalor(urban decay), ignorance(poor education) and disease prevalent in Europe  as far back as 1942,  it is sad that these same evils constitute  drawback in Nigerian state 70 years after!The Article provides a chronicle of unemployment among Nigerian youths, its causes, potential and actual damages, previous and ongoing efforts at  slaughtering this giant evil. It vehemently argues that the era of idleness is over and youths must start taking their destiny in their hands. It goes further to  propose general solutions as well as  evidence-based workable solution embeded in online writing opportunities for the Nigerian youths in the wake of globalization and advent of internet age. Writer conclusively shares this with interested Nigerian youths having  made a laudable success out of this career.

 Introduction and overview

     The rising unemployment among Nigerian youths  cannot be overemphasized with thousands of graduates turning out every year with no jobs. Nigerian streets have ironically turned to a litter of youth hawkers who walk about without gainful employment while those who are self-employed are limited by finance.Unemployment among youths poses a threat to Nigerian democracy. The high rate of youth unemployment portrays danger in the country using the case study of post-election violence of 2011 largely attended by youths as well as religious extremism typified by Boko Haram. This could mean enormous political,economic,social and security cost to Nigeria. The North Africa and Middle East is a clear example of countries with high rate of youth unemployment with attendant crime, violence and civil unrest.

      While the increase unemployment rate is a global phenomenon occasioned by the advent of global economic crisis, that notwithstanding, the disproportional rise in Nigeria calls for urgent measures. For instance  in 2011, the unemployment rate increased from 5.3% to 8.1% in UK,8.6% to 21.52% in Spain,5-9% in US,4.8%-14.3% in Ireland and 8.07% to 18.4% in Greece. African countries are also not left behind with unemployment figures put at   25 per cent in South Africa, Egypt-11.8 per cent,  Botswana -17.5 per cent, Angola- 25 per cent, Kenya- 11.7 per cent and  51% in Namibia .

      The job market appears saturated thus giving rise to youth unemployment and socioeconomic hardship. Unemployment in simple terms  has to do with set of people without jobs or number of economically active part of the populace who are jobless is spite readiness and availability to work and this also encompasses those who have lost their jobs or quitted voluntarily. Youth unemployment by extension describes anastomosis of youths coming from various backgrounds willing and available to work but could not find one. This could be seen as aftermath of demand-supply labour mismatch.Underemployment is also common as jobless Nigerian youths are forced to take up casual work and other unorthodox means of living.

Youth Unemployment:The Nigeria Scenario

     Generally speaking, unemployment in Nigeria setting is categorized into older unemployed who lost their jobs through retrenchment, redundancy, or bankruptcy. For instance, the banking industry has experienced wave of mass sack and retrenchment of employees over the last few months such as the alleged sack of 800 employees of Main street Bank (formerly Afribank), alleged sack of 400 employees of Sterling Bank, easing of 1,500 employees of Intercontinental bank  by  Access Bank around the same time, and alleged sack of 6,000 employees of Oceanic  bank by Ecobank  after the merger of the two banks. As if those were not enough, Enterprise Bank followed suit by showing 140 members of staff the way out all increasing the number of unemployed Nigerian youths on the streets, although these banks consider the step necessary to reduce overhead cost.

     The second category of unemployment in Nigeria covers the younger unemployed, most of whom have never been employed. The 2010 statistics from Manpower Board and Federal Bureau of statistics pointed that of the 80 million youths in Nigeria, 60%(64 million) are unemployed while 1.6 million are underemployed. The secondary school leavers constitute the highest group of unemployed youths. Unemployment  among youth is also highest in urban areas. The National Bureau of Statistics  in its 2009 reports however placed national unemployment rate at 31.1%  for 2000 and 19.75  for 2009. This however increased to about 34% in 2011. Unemployment rate is also higher among male youth than female Nigerian youths. One thing that is worthy of note is that while the above figures may not all the same capture the overall youth unemployment in Nigeria, they are pointers to the fact that the phenomenom is real, critical with far-reaching implications for Nigeria democracy.

Causes of unemployment among Nigerian youths

Rural Urban Migration

     The push pull factors result in rural urban migration in Nigeria. The seasonal cycle of climate worsened by non-exiting infrastructure in the rural Nigeria forces youths to urban areas with the hope of getting lucrative jobs in the industries. Socioeconomic opportunities are lacking in rural areas  and it’s been said that by 2010, over 50% of the youths in Africa will be residing in urban areas where job opportunities are limited to a few modern sectors and establishments.

Population explosion

      Nigerian population is projected to be over 180 million by 2020 if the present rate of growth continues. Nigeria undoubtedly has the largest population in Africa and this has led to rising labour force that far outstrips supply of jobs.

Outdated Education Curricula and dearth of employable skills

      Many have argued that  Nigerian graduates are not employable and lack minimum skills needed by labour employer in the formal sector all resulting from Nigeria’s falling education system.The course contents of most tertiary education in Nigeria lack entrepreneurial contents that would have enabled graduates to become job creators rather than job seekers.

Supply-demand mismatch of educated manpower

     In spite rapid expansion in Nigeria educational system with attendant graduate turnout, the supply often exceeds available space for employment.For instance, by 1986/1987  about 73,000 graduates were turned out by Nigerian higher institutions but this increased to 131,000 plus by 1997.With about   97 existing  universities in Nigeria at the moment, the problem of getting suitable job for varieties of graduates turned out annually may heighten. All these result from weak nature of the Nigerian economy.

An impotent manufacturing sector

     With  the advent of global economic crises of 2008, many industries and factories were closed down in Nigeria while the remaining ones were tagged ‘sick’ which threatens the survival of manufacturing industry in Nigeria. In 2009 alone, about 176 firms were closed in Northern Nigeria, 178 in South East, 46 in South South,225 in South West and 214 manufacturing companies closed down in Lagos alone before the end of 2009.Foreign direct investments in the country have been on the slow side as a result of insecurity and high taxation among others. Many of these industries that closed down are forced to lay off/retrench workers while the hope of recruiting new graduates was dashed. All these contribute to rising youth unemployment in Nigeria.

Endemic Corruption in High places, stealing in low places

     This article would be incomplete without alluding to  how corruption has been institutionalised in Nigeria by successive  military and civilian administrations. Corruption is a cankerworm of the society and has robbed us of developing vibrant economy as funds meant for developmental projects are often embezzled, misappropriated and siphoned into foreign banks with deliberate liquidation of parastatals and organizations by these corrupt beureucrats.In order words, collusion of political ruling class with their foreign partners have robbed the Nigerian state from utilizing oil revenue in creating employment over the last 51 years of independence .Each successive government took turns to prey on the nation’s wealth, by using public power, resources, good will, utilities, instrument of abuse, and personal gains.However, corruption is not limited to high places as often perceived by many Nigerians as various ‘micro-stealings’ exist in low places which sums up to decimate our collective nationhood.Organizational managers employ less than quota of available spaces while salaries of others  are pocketed with ‘ghost workers’ on the rise.

Previous and ongoing efforts at curbing the menace of youth unemployment

       While previous and on-going developmental government, group and individual initiatives and efforts across various sectors aimed at addressing growing unemployment in the country are commendable,  there aren still rooms for improvement. Many of the initiatives at the moment  have assisted barely 100,000 out of the 30 million unemployed youths in the country .There are several efforts by Nigerian government, non-governmental organizations and individual initiatives to reduce the growing unemployment in the country. Actions in form of policy, programmes and laws have been taken and executed by successive governments to deal with the problems of employment and poverty. These include the post-independence National Development Plans (NDP), the National Rolling plans and the NEEDS (Nigerian Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy) programmes.

     The NDP 1,2,3 and 4  focussed on employment creation in the areas of agriculture and industry, transportation, power, education, improved health. Other programs designed to promote human resource development, utilization and poverty reduction in Nigeria include the DFRRI (Directorate of Food ,Roads and Rural infrastructure) , NDE (National Directorate of employment), BLP (Better Life for Rural Women Program),FSP(Family Support Program),FEAP(Family Economic advancement program).Amongst all these programs, NDE was aimed at designing and executing programs to tackle the rising unemployment through well articulated policies, keeping data bank of employment and job vacancies in the economy so that an ultimate link between jobseekers and vacancies can be provided. In addition, the Minister of Youth Development-  Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi announced two months ago that the sum of N1.2bn has been captured in the 2012 budget which was meant to train and   provide grant for youth empowerment programme in agriculture, ICT and the creative industry.Government efforts  also include the President Goodluck Jonathan ‘Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria initiative’ (You Win!) aimed at supporting innovative youths to create a targeted  80,000 to 110,000 sustainable jobs over the next four years, the 2012 Public Works and Women/Youth Employment (PW/WYE)  project targeted at generating 370, 000 jobs across the country before the end of the year(being a component of the Subsidy Reinvestment and empowerment Programme, SURE), the Agriculture Transformation Agenda and many others.In as much as these efforts are commendable, Nigerian government should be reminded that its role is not to create jobs but  rather a regulatory role and provision of enabling operating atmosphere for existing and upcoming industries  to be able to employ more youths.

     This discourse about efforts at curbing unemployment  would not be complete without alluding to other online initiatives among Nigerian Youths who daily innovate while obeying the clarion call of salvaging Nigerian unemployed graduates. One  must  commend online individual and group efforts that provide information for graduates on various job opportunities and vacancies that exist in the country and outside on a daily basis such jobberman.com, NAIJAN.COM,http://joblistnigeria.com,www.careersnigeria.com,www.jobvacanciesnigeria.com etc. Other similar initiatives include  ‘MDG in Africa’, an online initiative that seeks to promote sustainable development  and inspire youths towards productivity  among many other things.

      These initiatives  cum yeoman services  are helping teeming unemployed graduates in Nigeria and Africa to get meaningful jobs. There have been countless success stories of individuals who have broken the cycle of joblessness through contacts with such websites. However, many more can be achieved.The common denominator  in Nigeria labor industry is the pitiably hilarious scenario whereby more than 5,000 applicants apply for a single job space making many frustrated, dejected and tired of trying.

Slaughtering the giant of  unemployment

     Some have  suggested that government must endeavour to pay monthly  allowance of not less than 18,000 minimum wage to every unemployed Nigerian youth until the person gets employed. One would however have to consider the problems of moral hazard and adverse selection in this scheme as well as the  poor Biodata and recording system in Nigeria.Be that as it may and considering the widespread complaints that Nigerian graduates are not employable, there may  be need to strengthen our education at all levels to provide opportunities for enterpreneurial education so that graduates from Nigerian higher learning will become creators rather than seekers of jobs. The anti-corruption crusade will also need to be strengthened by making the anti-corruption agencies like Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Crimes (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) as well as Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) truly independent .This will help them execute their mandates and funds meant for projects can be used for such with expected job creation that will absorb most unemployed Nigerian youths.

Freelancing Online: The alternativesolution against Youth Unemployment

     Why should  Nigerian youths continue to waste time looking for jobs? What next should they do? Here is a solution:Freelancing! The advent of globalization and technological revolution means that online platform has become primary source of communication, learning and business transaction. The internet has also become a veritable means of social interaction. Internet takes about 70% of time of Nigerian youths according to a report which also adds that many activities during this period are not economically productive. There are negative impacts of globalization and internet age. For instance,  many people especially young people utilise internet for fraudulent purposes while others engage in social crimes(one think of recent murder of a young female Nigerian by Facebook friends who invited her for business transaction). With an estimated number of over 43 million Nigerians daily on the internet (mostly youths) commonly visiting websites  such as Facebook , Twitter, Conduit (amazing), Youtube , BBC online  , Goal.com (Football fans) and  Google, the internet in spite the negatives can serve productive and financially rewarding purposes.It could also be a potential avenue to get gainful employment with commitment,devotion and endurance.The Nigerian internet according to a report is the fastest in Africa.The advent of 3G services, newer minilaptops with long lasting battery life could be tapped in sustaining finance generating internet surfing activities. This is a latent aspect yet to be explored in the Nigerian setting. The writer of this article is convinced that an average Nigerian graduate is brilliant enough to engage financially rewarding online freelancing.With commitment of few hours in a day, it could be source of revenue of between $100-$500/ week depending on how many hours  commited.

     Freelance jobs are meant for self-employed individuals who are hired by  virtual companies to execute specific task such as content writing, graphic and web design,translation services, software development, programming,academic writing,online tutor positions in subjects and languages e.g. English, Chinese etc. The message is that several freelance opportunities exist on the internet and all that is needed as a beginner is training/information, right attitude, discipline and industry for a successful outing.Freelance work is beneficial to the hirer, freelancer and company alike. For the hirer it saves cost, time and  allow to get the best in performing a job .To the freelancer, it makes the person independent, earn as much as (s)he works in foreign currencies, connect to people  and clients across the globe, spend more time on personal life and family.This job can be taken as either part time of full time .With fairly good writing skills,  it is possible to jumpstart freelance writing career and make money from writing.

     Precious time wasting adventures of applying for jobs with no prospects of selection could be saved while working as a freelancer. Irrespective of the individual’s background and writing level, [s]he could always fit.  A lot could also be  earned more than what an average employee of a company earns .The individual could also save him or herself from rejections from various employees by starting to work as a freelance writer. Many companies reject applicants providing cliché of answers such as :We found someone who has more experience; you do not have up to 10 years of  experience and so on. There are many freelance writing job opportunities available for freelance writers, but how can one find these freelance writing jobs?This could be as easy as ABC and could also be as difficult as learning chinese language.You need valuable information and guide on how to go about this as this is necessary to avoid failure from the outset.

    In conclusion, enough is enough  of a situation whereby   only the ‘microscopic privileged few’ (if I may borrow from a former Nigerian senator) in postions of power suck the system into anemic state at the detriment of impoverished masses.This portends real catastrophy that may one day incur the anger of Nigerian unemployed youths if that is not adressed urgently.That notwithstanding, I challenge the Nigerian youths to stand up, pick up the surgical knife  of determination, commitment and right attitude as they butcher the despicable evil of idleness by embracing the suggested solutions in this article.

Long live Nigeria,

Long Live Nigerian Youths.

 

Adepoju Victor is a medical doctor, project manager, prolific freelancer with thousands of articles in local and international publications. He  is an advocate of social engineering, transformational leadership and utilization of  preventive policy reforms in  curbing the menace of five giant evils of poverty, idleness (unemployment), squalor,disease and ignorance in Africa and beyond. His areas of interest includes Health, international management and politics, social policy,Biodiversity ,parenting and family issues among others. He currently serves in Akoko South East LG, Ondo State.

Contacts

Email: adepojuv@gmail.com,schrodinga05@yahoo.com

Phone:2347085841379,2347082624376

 

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