Isaac Adewole, minister of health, has urged Nigerians to improve their health seeking behaviour in order to prevent and reduce burden of diseases in the country.
Adewole told NAN in Lagos that many Nigerians do not value health, and “see payment for health as a loss”.
He said many preferred to spend so much on “Aso-Ebi” and little or nothing on their health.
Adewole spoke on the sidelines of a media parley marking his one year in his office.
“There are many diseases, which people do not even know they have, that is why we are working to improve population awareness by educating Nigerians regularly on how to improve their health status,” he said.
“The end point is that every home should be a primary healthcare facility and every Nigerian should be a primary healthcare giver.
“People check their cars every morning for problems, we should also treat our bodies better than that by going for regular health checks.
“The whole implication is that, it is cheaper to prevent diseases than to treat; the next line is that when it is detected early, it is also cheaper.
“It is when it has reached advanced and complicated stage that it becomes a problem and more expensive.
“But with regular checks, diseases are prevented, detected early, properly treated and managed. We should be more conscious to reduce the burden of diseases in our country.”
Adewole also called on wealthy Nigerians to invest in health, and should not leave the management and funding of the sector to the government alone.
“Let us clone the Bill Gates and Dangotes. There are many things you can do as an individual in the sector,” he said.
“We should change our perception of the healthcare as one that it is only for poor people. Diseases can affect both the poor and the rich.”