The term ‘quality of life’ (QOL) refers to the general well-being of individuals and societies. The term is used in a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, and politics. “Warren Buffett, probably the world’s most successful investor, has said that anything good that happened to him could be traced back to the fact that he was born in the right country, the United States, at the right time (1930)”. None of us has a say in where he is born, but we can do something about it for our children.
I therefore wish to discuss each factor associated with quality of life as related to Nigeria and plead for suggestions from all of us on how to improve on them so as to make this country a good place for us to live: * Material wellbeing as measured by GDP per head: The gross domestic product (GDP) or gross domestic income (GDI) is one of the measures of national income and output. GDP can be defined in three ways, which should give identical results. First, it is equal to the total expenditures for all final goods and services produced within the country in a specified period of time (usually a 365-day year).
Second, it is equal to the sum of the value added at every stage of production by all the industries, plus taxes and minus subsidies on products. Third, it is equal to the sum of the income generated by production like compensation of employees, taxes on production and imports less subsidies, and gross operating surplus. The gross domestic product (GDP) measures of national income and output for a given country’s economy. The gross domestic product (GDP) is equal to the total expenditures for all final goods and services produced within the country in a stipulated period of time.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria was worth 243. 98 billion US dollars in 2011. The GDP value of Nigeria represents 0. 39 percent of the world economy. GDP in Nigeria is reported by the World Bank. Historically, from 1961 until 2011, Nigeria GDP averaged 50. 07 USD Billion reaching an all time high of 243. 98 USD Billion in December of 2011 and a record low of 4. 40 USD Billion in December of 1961. This is low as compared to 14. 99 USD Trillion of United States in 2011. * Life expectancy at birth:
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life. In other words, it contains the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. The entry includes ‘total population’ as well as the ‘male’ and ‘female’ components. Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages.
It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures. It is estimated to be 52. 05 years for total population, 48. 95 years for male and 55. 53 years for female (2012 estimates) in Nigeria. This is low as compared to 78 years in Qatar for example. * The quality of family life, based primarily on divorce rates: Family quality of life refers to the extent to which families’ needs are met, family members enjoy their life together, and family members have a chance to do the things that are important to them.
The five domains of family quality of life are emotional well-being, parenting, family interaction, physical/material well-being, and disability-related support. * The state of political freedom: Political freedom is described as a relationship free of oppression or coercion; the absence of disabling conditions for an individual and the fulfillment of enabling conditions; or the absence of lived conditions of compulsion, e. g. economic compulsion, in a society. It can also refer to the positive exercise of rights, capacities and possibilities for action, and the exercise of social or group rights.
The concept can also include freedom from “internal” constraints on political action or speech (e. g. social conformity, consistency, or “inauthentic” behaviour. ). The concept of political freedom is closely connected with the concepts of civil liberties and human rights, which in democratic societies are usually afforded legal protection from the state. * Job security (measured by the unemployment rate): Job security is the probability that an individual will keep his or her job; a job with a high level of job security is such that a person with the job would have a small chance of becoming unemployed.
Job security is dependent on economy, prevailing business conditions, and the individual’s personal skills. It has been found that people have more job security in times of economic expansion and less in times of a recession. Also, some laws (such as the U. S. Civil Rights Act of 1964) bolster job security by making it illegal to fire employees for certain reasons. Unemployment rate is a good indicator of job security and the state of the economy and is tracked by economists, government officials, and banks.
Typically, government jobs and jobs in education, healthcare and law enforcement are considered very secure while private sector jobs are generally believed to offer lower job security and it usually varies by industry, location, occupation and other factors. Personal factors such as education, work experience, job functional area, work industry, work location, etc. , play an important role in determining the need for an individual’s services, and impacts their personal job security.
Since job security depends on having the necessary skills and experience that are in demand by employers, which in turn depend on the prevailing economic condition and business environment, individuals whose services are in demand by employers will tend to enjoy higher job security. To some extent, job security also varies by employment laws of each country. A worker in Continental Europe, if asked about his job security, would reply by naming the type of statutory employment contract he has, ranging from temporary (no job security) to indefinite (virtually equivalent to ‘tenure’ n US universities but across the whole economy). However, people’s job security eventually depends on whether they are employable or not, and if businesses have a need for their skills or not, so although employment laws can offer some relief and hedge from unemployment risk, they only have a marginal contribution to job security of individuals. Fact is, individuals need to have the right skill set to have good job security. | * Climate (measured by two variables: the average deviation of minimum and maximum monthly temperatures from 14 degrees Celsius; and the number of months in the year with less than 30mm rainfall):
Climate change poses a wide range of risks to population health – risks that will increase in future decades, often to critical levels, if global climate change continues on its current trajectory. The three main categories of health risks include: (i) direct-acting effects (e. g. due to heat waves, amplified air pollution, and physical weather disasters), (ii) impacts mediated via climate-related changes in ecological systems and relationships (e. g. rop yields, mosquito ecology, marine productivity), and (iii) the more diffuse (indirect) consequences relating to impoverishment, displacement, resource conflicts (e. g. water), and post-disaster mental health problems. Climate change thus threatens to slow, halt or reverse international progress towards reducing child under-nutrition, deaths from diarrheal diseases and the spread of other infectious diseases. Climate change acts predominantly by exacerbating the existing, often enormous, health problems, especially in the poorer parts of the world.
Current variations in weather conditions already have many adverse impacts on the health of poor people in developing nations, and these too are likely to be ‘multiplied’ by the added stresses of climate change. A changing climate thus affects the prerequisites of population health: clean air and water, sufficient food, natural constraints on infectious disease agents, and the adequacy and security of shelter. A warmer and more variable climate leads to higher levels of some air pollutants and more frequent extreme weather events.
It increases the rates and ranges of transmission of infectious diseases through unclean water and contaminated food, and by affecting vector organisms (such as mosquitoes) and intermediate or reservoir host species that harbour the infectious agent (such as cattle, bats and rodents). Changes in temperature, rainfall and seasonality compromise agricultural production in many regions, including some of the least developed countries, thus jeopardising child health and growth and the overall health and functional capacity of adults.
As warming proceeds, the severity (and perhaps frequency) of weather-related disasters will increase – and appears to have done so in a number of regions of the world over the past several decades. Therefore, in summary, global warming, together with resultant changes in food and water supplies, can indirectly cause increases in a range of adverse health outcomes, including malnutrition, diarrhea, injuries, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and water-borne and insect-transmitted diseases.
Health equity and climate change have a major impact on human health and quality of life, and are interlinked in a number of ways. The report of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health points out that disadvantaged communities are likely to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden of climate change because of their increased exposure and vulnerability to health threats. Over 90 percent of malaria and diarrhea deaths are borne by children aged 5 years or younger, mostly in developing countries.
Other severely affected population groups include women, the elderly and people living in small island developing states and other coastal regions, mega-cities or mountainous areas. Climate change can lead to dramatic increases in prevalence of a variety of infectious diseases. Beginning in the mid-70s, there has been an “emergence, resurgence and redistribution of infectious diseases”. Reasons for this are likely multicausal, dependent on a variety of social, environmental and climatic factors, however, many argue that the “volatility of infectious disease may be one of the earliest biological expressions of climate nstability”. Though many infectious diseases are affected by changes in climate, vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever and leishmaniasis, present the strongest causal relationship. Malaria in particular, which kills approximately 300,000 children annually, poses the most imminent threat. Often it is argued that Africa need not care about climate change because in global dimensions Africa itself produces negligible greenhouse gases. Climate change is primarily caused by the developed countries, so they should be the ones dealing with it.
However, it is the bitter irony of destiny that Africa contributes least of all the continents to the climate change, but will probably suffer most from its consequences. According to economists it is a typical case of negative external effects, an externalisation of costs: A noninvolved party bears the costs of a third party’s actions. As Africa is exposed to a number of resource-consuming stressors (ranging from HIV to corruption to permanent crises and conflicts), comparatively few resources remain to react proactively on the climate change.
Seeing the climate change as an external shock to the continent caused by the externalisation of costs of a third party, payments and assistance can be considered to be a reasonable way to compensate Africa for the negative climate effects. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that the rapid onset of climate change is subsiding. Even if we miraculously managed to stop all greenhouse gas emissions, we would still be faced with the potentially irreversible changes we have already brought.
Thus, it is essential that we adapt to these changing conditions. Our response will be both reactive and anticipatory and will need to take place at many levels (legislative, engineering and personal-behaviour). In response to malaria we will need to, for example, improve the quality and accessibility of health services, identify and target response towards vulnerable populations, improve our modelling and surveillance capacity, and implement broad-based public education campaigns. Personal physical security ratings (based primarily on recorded homicide rates and ratings for risk from crime and terrorism): Physical security is primarily concerned with restricting physical access by unauthorized people (commonly interpreted as intruders) to controlled facilities, although there are other considerations and situations in which physical security measures are valuable (for example, limiting access within a facility and/or to specific assets, and environmental controls to reduce physical incidents such as fires and floods).
Security inevitably incurs costs and, in reality, it can never be perfect or complete – in other words, security can reduce but cannot entirely eliminate risks. Given that controls are imperfect, strong physical security applies the principle of defense in depth using appropriate combinations of overlapping and complementary controls. Physical security is not uniquely human. The practice of actively defending a territory against intruders or opponents is very common in the animal kingdom. Physical security is also not a modern phenomenon. The technology is continually evolving along with the threats.
Physical security controls that were considered adequate in the past tend to be insecure today due to advances in the knowledge and capabilities of attackers. The goal of physical security is to convince potential attackers that the likely costs of attack exceeds the value of making the attack, e. g. that consequences of a failed attack may well exceed the gain. The combination of layered security features establishes the presence of territoriality. The initial layer of security for a campus, building, office, or other physical space uses crime prevention through environmental design to deter threats.
Some of the most common examples are also the most basic: warning signs or window stickers, fences, vehicle barriers, vehicle height-restrictors, restricted access points, security lighting and trenches. However, even passive things like hedgerows may be sufficient in some circumstances. * Quality of community life (based on membership in social organisations): The community life of a set of people is based on their culture. Community life is almost the same with culture of the people and this entails activities within the regulation and scope of culture which morality also takes cognizance of.
The number and kinds of people in a community have a great influence on type of community/social living, and this is where the traditions of such people have a great role to play. Traditions are the customs, practices, bits of legend and folklore and legends go a long way in establishing the community life, that tangible quality which makes it different in spirit from other communities in the same circumstances. Similarly, people in a community share legends and bits of folklore and this common heritage from the past gives people a sense of community solidarity. Governance (measured by ratings for corruption): There are various reasons why the situation has come to this dangerous abyss but when compared to other societies, it is obvious that Nigeria lack a home grown ruling class that in addition to everything else should set the direction of the nation by detailing set objectives and the steps and aims necessary to achieve desired goals. What obtains today is the governance of Nigeria by a political structure whose main objective is to take and plunder the land without giving back anything to the country.
According to the oxford English dictionary governance mean to rule over, be in power over, exercise control over and hold sway over. In other words governance is a form of dictatorship. As it applies to Nigeria, governance is a peculiar form of dictatorship presently exercising a domineering paralytic control and power over the Nigerian people. A few group of people and their families have decided to hold power over everyone else in Nigeria since the British dictatorship handed over power to them in 1960.
These few individuals also inherited the same principle of divide and rule as well as the indirect rule system which foster tribalism, ethnicism, disunity and other by products including lack of peace, injustice, unfairness, bribery, corruption 419inism to just name a few of sowed and grown social environment that exist in Nigeria today. Today’s political structure takes origin right from the post colonial days and in the South Nigeria for example the NCNC and Action Group recognized and recruited sworn loyalists who were distributed to each ethnic clan/zones who in turn recruited from villages and wards.
When these parties are in the seat of government political looting is transmitted downwards and during election these recruits manage the result of the election to favour the looting political structure. In the North until recently when few changes has begun to occur in the middle belt the Emirs and village heads continued from where they stopped with the British. Nothing in that inherited structure has changed. The various military interludes in government did not affect the structure but merely substituted traditional rulers in place of the party loyalists.
However where the previous immediate post colonial governors did manage to provide some public amenities these present political structure have only one objective and that is filling their pockets with the Shell distributed foreign exchange and to set up family dynasties of their own. In addition to this political structure is the state machinery, a fearsome, lethal and ruthless organ that has a mind of its own that is almost alien to this world. They provide the muscle for the political structure. Then there are the activities of CIA and FBI.
It is no secret that every man who has strategic position in the government of Nigeria both in the executive and political arm has a CIA or Scotland Yard or Mossad agent as confidante and as a friend. Recent figures quoted by the Swedish information on countries show that there are 65 international agencies operating in Nigeria that have no economic or social relevance and that these figures do not include the security agencies or the activities of Israel, Arabs and the Palestinians that parasite on Nigeria.
The bottom line is that the brain box and factors that programme the existing political and administrative structure of Nigeria are in foreign hands. There is urgent need for a ruling class that will effect change to halt the present state of affairs and to make Nigeria a place to benefit her people now and generation to come. * Gender equality (measured by the share of seats in parliament held by women): Gender equality implies that men and women should receive equal treatment unless there is a sound biological reason for different treatment.
The concept based on the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and the ultimate aim is to provide equality in law and equality in social situations, especially in democratic activities and securing equal pay for equal work and for example Equal Rights Amendment in United States. Significant gender gaps in education, economic empowerment and political participation remain in Nigeria. While progress towards parity in primary school education has been made, there remains a significant wage and labour force participation gender gap.
Discriminatory laws and practices, violence against women and gender stereotypes hinder greater progress towards gender equality. Nigeria has a particularly high maternal mortality rate and women access to quality health care is limited, particularly in rural areas Nigeria has a National Gender Policy which focuses on women empowerment while also making a commitment to eliminate discriminatory practices which are harmful to women.
The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, but customary and religious laws continue to restrict women’s rights. As Nigeria is a federal republic, each state has the authority to draft its own legislation. However, any law which is contradictory to Federal Law or the Constitution can be challenged in a Federal Court and cannot subsist. The combination of federation and a tripartite system of civil, customary and religious law makes it very difficult to harmonise legislation and remove discriminatory measures.
Moreover, certain states in the north follow Islamic (Sharia) law, although not exclusively and only in instances where Muslims make use of Islamic courts. Adherence to Islamic law reinforces customs that are unfavourable to women, including those relating to freedom of movement, and to marriage and inheritance. As of 2006, the Abolition of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in Nigeria and other Related Matters Bill was under consideration; it is unclear whether this has been promulgated into law.
Nigeria ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1985, and the Optional Protocol in 2004. The country ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in 2005. Nigeria’s Human Development Index score for 2011 is 0. 459, placing it in 156th place (out of a total of 187 countries). Nigeria is ranked 120th in the 2011 Global Gender Gap Index (out of 135 countries), with a score of 0. 6011.
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