In Nigeria, a country with a large population and vast geographical spread, transportation is essential for economic activities, access to healthcare, education, and other social services. However, the recent surge in fuel prices , with gasoline skyrocketing from 191 naira per litre to approximately 500 naira per litre, has cast a dark shadow on the overall public health in the country.
The price of a 33,000 metric tons tanker of petrol that was sold at N8m before subsidy removal now goes between N22m and N23m depending on the location of the filling station from the depots.
Since the surge in fuel prices, ambulances and medical staff find it hard to operate efficiently. The financially vulnerable, are unable to afford the money to seek medical attention promptly. This delay in accessing healthcare services is due to an overall increase in health care fees following the fuel subsidy removal.
The inflated fuel prices has forced many Nigerians to into a corner, since most people rely on road transportation to move and other alternatives still require diesel or fuel to function. As a result, traffic congestion has increased, leading to longer commute times and stressful journeys. The prolonged exposure to traffic congestion can significantly impact mental health, leading to heightened stress levels, anxiety, and even depression. Moreover, the constant noise and pollution associated with traffic congestion further exacerbate the negative impact on mental well-being.
The fuel subsidy removal has placed a considerable economic burden on the citizens of Nigeria, particularly those with limited financial resources. Higher transportation costs not only affect individuals’ ability to commute but also impact the prices of essential goods and services. The increased cost of transportation and goods leads to a decrease in disposable income and a reduction in overall standards of living. This economic burden disproportionately affects vulnerable populations, exacerbating social inequalities and limiting access to vital resources, including healthcare, education, and nutritious food.
Urgent measures are needed to address this issue, including efforts to promote alternative modes of transportation, invest in cleaner energy sources, and provide financial relief for the economically vulnerable. By tackling the transportation crisis, Nigeria can work towards safeguarding public health, reducing social disparities, and fostering sustainable development for its citizens.