NEO-Liberal Reforms and Health Disparities in the Global South: The Case of Nigeria

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:50 PM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Matthew EGHAREVBA , Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria., Ota, Nigeria
Frederick AHMADU , Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria., Ota, Nigeria
Ajibade JEGEDE , Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria., Ota, Nigeria

For over two decades since Nigeria’s adoption of the neo-liberal policy, its impact on standards of living of the citizenry has not been rather satisfactory as manifested by the unequal income distribution gap between the rich and the poor over the years. Besides, the health conditions of the people has experienced a decline as revealed by the increasing rate of child/infant mortality and maternal mortality which expresses the failure of government reform in adequately addressing goal 4, 5 and 6 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets. Using secondary sources of data, and the elite and world system theoretical models, the paper argued that government implementation of the neoliberal policies of removal of subsidies on essential goods and services, reduction of capital expenditures in the provision of healthcare and educational services and infrastructure have contributed to growing inequality, poverty and unemployment which had adversely narrow opportunities for human development. Today, Nigeria’s position in the UNDP Human Development index (HDI) ranking over the past years have remained poor, reflecting a combination of intense poverty, low educational levels and limited life expectancy. The paper concludes with the position that what is required to address the challenge of human development in the global south is a strong government commitment in looking inward to fashion out people oriented policies that channel the nation’s economic resources into promoting healthcare, education, infrastructure, sanitation, nutrition and equity as well as incorporating safe and viable indigenous methods of treating health issues that are easily accessible and affordable.