Nollywood: Influence on Nigeria’s Healthcare System – by Andrew Folusho Alalade @AFAlalade

Published:3 Dec, 2012

Nollywood: Influence on Nigeria’s Healthcare System – by Andrew Folusho Alalade @AFAlalade

There was an intriguing debate some time last year on the Facebook forum for Nigerian doctors all over the world – “Naija Medics Worldwide”. A flurry of posts was triggered off by an article posted by Dr Peter Adeosun, a resident doctor at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, many complaining of the ill-effects of Nollywood movies on the health care attitudes of Nigerians.
Just like Hollywood and Bollywood, Nollywood has become the name for Nigeria’s feature film industry. Many might not believe this, but in terms of annual film productions, Nollywood is the second largest film industry in the world (second only to Bollywood). The great Hollywood comes third on the rankings. Most Nollywood films are really soap operas – they try to portray the typical Nigerian family or society, and have become increasing popular since 1992 when the film “Living in Bondage” was released.

Not just Nigerians watch Nollywood movies, it has gradually crept into the homes of millions all over the world. I was shocked when a Jamaican friend I met in London 3 years ago told me her favourite film was “Osuofia in London”! She randomly quoted lines from several Nollywood movies.
To the simple mind, movies just educate and entertain; but a more critical review would show that movies reinforce tendencies, help to sell a brand and allows us to see stereotypical perceptions as the norm. Dale’s Cone of Experience – a tool often cited by learning experts shows that we tend to remember about 30% of what we see. Whether this figure is accurate is another issue, but most people will agree that what we watch has a great influence on what we do or how we come to perceive things. Nollywood and Nigerians are no different; people have come to transplant what they see in Nollywood movies into their everyday lives.
As a doctor, I usually watch hospital-based programmes like ‘House’, ‘Casualty’, ‘E.R’, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Scrubs’, ‘Holby City’ and ‘Monroe’, and I am impressed at the attention to detail when acting out medical scenarios. There was a colleague of mine who prepared for his postgraduate medical examinations by watching “House” when he was taking time off his books. Every episode had a new clinical presentation and an interesting diagnosis. Some of the filming for “Monroe” was done in a hospital I worked in 2009/10 and some of the medical staff were invited to join the film crew to ensure that it was as ‘real-life’ as possible. After watching it, I had to agree that they were “spot-on”.
Why doesn’t Nollywood do the same? What Nollywood does is reinforce the set of harmful customary beliefs and practices that contradict safe modern-day health principles in Nigeria. To make things worse, with the lack of access to sources of quality information for many Nigerians, the best health education teachings many get will be from their stack of Nollywood CDs. How come no one has thought of this?

 

Imagine the impact if Nigeria’s film industry could team up with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) or the Ministry of Health. Safe health care practices will be seen and learnt, medical professionals will be seen as people that can be trusted and believed & disease conditions will be dealt with more urgently. There was a series called “Doctors’ Quarters” on MNET some years ago featuring Kate Nuttall-Henshaw which tried to address these issues but unfortunately did not last too long on TV. By the way, ‘Doctors Quarters’ was not really a Nollywood programme and was only shown on DSTV so not everyone got to watch it.
Just so that you have a grasp of how big the problem is, here are a few excerpts from some Nollywood movies:
– A man reading a newspaper suddenly falls down and starts shaking vigorously with some foamy liquid coming out of his mouth. The wife and daughter start shouting that he has a heart attack.
– Dressed in a scruffy manner (he looks like he has just been across the Sahara desert) but with a stethoscope around his neck, he blurts out “Hello everybody! Your mother is in a critical condition in our ICU now and she has just 2 days more to live. If you don’t get the money for the operation by tomorrow morning, she will die”
– “My sister, you have contracted staphylococcus disease? If you don’t use these antibiotics, it can transform to a very chronic virus’.
– A doctor places the outside part of his hand on the patient’s forehead and says “ Aaaaah, this patient has been poisoned and it is beyond medical treatment”
– Two cars collide and passers-by quickly gather to start dragging people out of the vehicles. (No one remembers to keep their necks immobile because of the risk of spinal cord injury)
I cannot remember a lot of Nollywood doctors giving good news. All they say is “We have tried our best but the patient died” or “This one is beyond us, it requires spiritual treatment”. No wonder, so many people believe in metaphysical aetiologies for the simplest medical problems. The hospital scenes resemble a room on a poultry farm (no wonder no one wants to go to hospital!). A typical cubicle contains a make-shift bed covered with a white bed sheet, and the patient has an empty drip bag swinging over him/her. The drip cannula on the patient’s arm could be in any cardinal direction (north, south, east or west). The doctors shown in Nollywood movies are very limited in their diagnostic abilities. They can diagnose pregnancy (very well….), malaria, typhoid and AIDS, but nothing else. Any other diagnosis leaves them extremely confused and so the patient’s family end up going to the pastor, imam and most times, herbalist. The herbalists are the ‘know-it-alls’ and they never get it wrong (…or at least that is what the family and the film watchers are made to believe). Some of them, as part of their treatment protocol even advise that the patient should not get any second opinion or else the condition will get worse.
Now, I don’t hate Nollywood! I strongly believe it is one of Nigeria’s most successful exports and I would not say all hope is lost. Simple medical maneouvres can be taught via the films e.g. CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), Heimlich’s maneouvre, haemostasis (controlling bleeding) using pressure etc. The values of childhood immunization, good nutrition, compliance with medications and prompt presentation to hospital should be emphasised on. Medical experts should be invited to advise on scenes that show “anything medical” instead of us being fed the fruits of a film director’s imagination. Nollywood movies can be an excellent means of public health education and it might even achieve much more than health education experts!

 

Hope the guys at 51 Iweka Road, Onitsha and Idumota market, Lagos are reading this?

 

Andrew Folusho Alalade MBBS, MRCS

Neurosurgery Specialist Registrar

North Thames Rotation, London Deanery

& ASIT rep, British Neurosurgical Trainee Association

Twitter: @AFAlalade

 

 

  • Wale

    Instead of moaning and sitting back, the doctors should see an opportunity. Some of them might get some jobs by approaching and collaborating with Nollywood.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

EFCC rearraigns Dasuki, five others for diversion of funds.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday re-arraigned, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, a former National Security Adviser (NSA) and five others, for alleged diversion, and criminal breach of trust at an FCT High Court. The others were Bashir Yuguda, Shuaibu Salisu, a former Director of Finance, Office of the NSA, Dalhatu Investment Ltd., Sagir Attahiru and Attahiru Bafarawa, a former governor of Sokoto State. They were re-arraigned on a 22-count charge before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, and they pleaded not guilty...

FG to investigate why production of Big Brother Nigeria is in South Africa.

The federal government has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the reported shooting in South Africa of the ongoing Big Brother Nigeria reality show.   Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has asked the NBC to determine whether Multi-Choice has breached the Nigerian Broadcasting Code in any way, by shooting the show in South Africa, as well as the issue of possible deceit, since the viewing public was never told that the event would...

Bill Gates could become the world’s first trillionaire

In our lifetimes, we could see the first trillionaire. And, most likely, that first trillionaire would be Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates . That's according to research by Oxfam, an international network of organizations collectively working to alleviate global poverty. Its recently published report finds that eight billionaires from around the globe have as much money as the 3.6 billion people who make up the...

Yahya Jammeh will be ‘allowed to keep’ luxury car collection – Barrow

Gambian ex-president Yahya Jammeh will be allowed to keep his collection of 13 luxury cars and fly them out to his exiled home in Equatorial Guinea, a spokesman for new president Adama Barrow said Tuesday.Barrow’s spokesman confirmed to AFP an agreement had been struck to facilitate Jammeh’s exit on Saturday in order to end a weeks-long impasse caused by the ex-leader’s refusal to recognise Barrow’s election victory.   “What is very clear is that arrangements were made and the...

Death toll in Italy’s avalanche disaster climbs to 14

The death toll in Italy’s avalanche disaster rose to 14 Tuesday as rescuers extracted the bodies of two women from a devastated hotel and continued their search for 15 people still missing, local authorities said. Six other bodies were found between Monday afternoon and the early hours of Tuesday, the sixth day of what increasingly appears to be a forlorn search through the snow-covered wreckage of the Hotel Rigopiano. Eleven staff and guests survived the disaster, two men who were outside...

Lagos records 115 tanker accidents in 2016 – Official

The Lagos State Fire Service recorded 115 petroleum tanker accidents in 2016, Nwanovim George, the former Chief Fire Officer in the state has disclosed. Mr. George made the disclosure on Tuesday in Lagos at the ongoing national training for tanker drivers organised by Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch of NUPENG. Mr. George, who is currently the Personal Assistant to the Director, Lagos State Fire Service on Training Matters, said the service has already recorded six tanker in January 2017. He urged tanker...

Premium Times: How SSS lied against EFCC boss, Magu.

On Thursday, the Nigerian Senate declined to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as substantive chair of the country’s premier anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The upper legislative chamber claimed it could not approve the presidency’s request to confirm Mr. Magu based on a security report forwarded to it by the State Security Service. “The Senate wishes to inform the public that based on available security report, the Senate cannot proceed with the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu...

British PM must get parliament approval to trigger Brexit – Supreme Court

The UK Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May must get parliament’s approval before she begins Britain’s formal exit from the European Union, EU.   The UK’s highest judicial body dismissed the government’s argument that Ms. May could simply use executive powers known as “royal prerogative” to invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty and begin two years of divorce talks.   However, the court rejected arguments that the UK’s devolved assemblies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales should...

NYSC orientation back in Adamawa after 3-year break

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has resumed orientation of corp members in Adamawa state, after a three-year suspension caused by the Boko Haram insurgency.   The last orientation was held in Adamawa in March 2013.   Speaking to Tuesday in Yola, Mohammed Abubakar, state coordinator of NYSC, said 2, 500 corps members were deployed to the state.   “Registration of corp members started this Tuesday morning by 7 am and you can see they are trooping in; we are expecting 2, 500 corp members,”...

“Quit whining, no one owes you anything”, Fayemi tell Nigerian graduates.

Kayode Fayemi, minister of solid minerals development, has admonished Nigerian graduates to quit complaining and stop waiting for the government to solve their problems. He said this on Monday while delivering the 49th convocation lecture of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka. Fayemi urged the undergraduates to work hard to achieve their dreams and stop waiting for handouts. “Quit whining, no one owes you anything. The earlier we realise that no one owes us anything, the better for us and the more...

President Buhari rejects senate’s recommendation for SGF’s sacking

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected the recommendation of the senate for the sack of Babachir Lawal as secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).   Buhari said his decision was informed by the failure of the senate ad hoc committee on humanitarian crisis in the northeast to give Lawal a fair hearing. ? He conveyed his decision in a letter read by Senate President Bukola Saraki on Tuesday.   In December 2016, the senate recommended the sack of Lawal for alleged corruption.   In its report,...

JUST IN: Again, CBN MPC retains interest rate at record high.

For the second time in four months, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided on Tuesday to hold benchmark interest rates at record high of 14 percent.   Godwin Emefiele, governor of the bank, announced that the committee also decided to keep cash reserve ratio (CRR) and liquidity ratio at 22.5 percent and 30 percent respectively.   He said the 10 members present at the meeting decided unanimously to keep the asymmetric corridor at +200 and +500 basis points.   The...

SON confisticates 1,000 bags of underweighed rice in Osogbo

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Osun says it confiscated more than 1,000 underweighed bags of rice in Osogbo markets on Monday. Mr Sunday Badewole, the SON State Coordinator, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Osogbo on Tuesday. Badewole said the agency made the confiscation during the enforcement operation where more than 1,000 bags of 5kg, 10kg and 25kg of bags of rice were confiscated. He said many of the rice sellers had...

Sambisa, The Forest of Learning – By Buki Ponle

By now, it is crystal clear to the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), or any other groups and individuals with similar perception, that government is not toying with the safety, lives and property of Nigerians. This is clearly evident in the latest search conducted for the missing Chibok school girls in the notorious forest called Sambisa. Few days ago, the Federal Government, represented by the Minister of Information and Culture and that of Defence, arranged to join the Nigerian troops...

No Parliamentary Approval, No Brexit- Supreme Court Rules

It was a massive victory for Gina Miller as the Supreme Court has given a ruling giving the Parliament the right to approve the start of Brexit. Addressing journalists outside court after the judgment, Gina Miller thanked her supporters for the steadfastness. “In Britain, we are lucky – we are fortunate to have the ability to voice legitimate concerns and views as part of a shared society” she said. “I have therefore been shocked at the levels of personal abuse that I...

Court Orders Release of Ex-NSA Dasuki Again

An Abuja High Court has again reaffirmed the bail granted former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and five others in the arm deal trial involving $2.1 billion. Justice Baba Yusuf reaffirmed the bail on Mr. Dasuki on the ground that he was entitled to it and having been admitted to same since 2015 when the federal government brought criminal charges against him. Mr. Dasuki and five others were re-arraigned before Justice Baba Yusuf on the criminal charges that were transferred...

China urged to strengthen its nuclear arsenal to “force the US to respect it”

China must strengthen its nuclear arsenal to “force the US to respect it” in response to the stance of new US President Donald Trump, a leading newspaper said Tuesday. The comments in the Global Times, a popular paper known for its inflammatory rhetoric and hawkish views, came just days after President Xi Jinping called for the eventual global elimination of atomic weapons. In recent days, Chinese social media has carried pictures purporting to show an advanced intercontinental ballistic missile system deployed...

Yaya Toure explains why he’s not keen on playing in China

Yaya Toure says he wants to remain at Manchester City and is not interested in moving to China, amid reports of a big-money offer from the Chinese Super League.   Reports last week said Toure, 33, had rejected an approach from a Chinese club that would have seen him paid around £430,000 ($536,000, 499,000 euros) a week.   With his contract up at the end of the season, the former Ivory Coast midfielder faces an uncertain future, but he says he has no...

Kenya Conducts Mass Killings Of Dogs

Yesterday, January 23, 2017, Kenya Veterinary officers killed 82 dogs, 2 cats and a honey badger after rabies had been detected among some animals in Yatta, Machakos, LIB reports. According to the authorities, the animals were killed following the threat of rabies which is a deadly viral disease that could affect the local community.    

RCCG sends message to all senior pastors over MMM, other schemes

The Redeemed Christian Church of GOD (RCCG) has said that the doctrine of the mission does not support get rich quick schemes. This was made known in a memo addressed to pastors in charge of regions and provinces, by the General Secretary of the church, Pastor Johnson Odesola, on Wednesday, January 18, 2017. Pastor Odesola stated in the memo that some pastors and staff of the mission are getting themselves involved in all manner of money-making schemes, to the extent...

How Auchi Poly student duped white woman of $267,000 via dating

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Monday arraigned one Akintunde Vincent Abiodun begore at a Lagos State High court sitting in Ikeja for alleged love scam. The accused, a student of the Federal Polytechnic Auchi, Edo state was said to have defrauded his victim, D. Bonnici of $267,000 online by claiming to be Christopher Williams from the United Kingdom. According to the complainant, she met the 37-year-old man on a dating site on the internet and allegedly fell in love...