Nigerians practice both traditional and Western medicine. Traditional medicine is often associated with magic or juju. Native doctors are widely consulted in the rural areas. A variety of plants and animals are used in traditional medicine. Many valuable natural remedies are kept as family secrets.

 The practice of Western medicine is expanding in Nigeria. Many contagious diseases have been controlled and primary health care is provided in urban and rural areas. Many of the hospitals are supported by religious groups. They also play a large role in medical training and education.

There is still, however, a shortage of medical facilities, supplies, equipment and staff in certain areas. Inadequate water supply and sanitation in rapidly growing cities increases the threat of infectious diseases such as cholera or malaria. The guinea worm parasite is spread by drinking contaminated water. It causes recurring illness and may permanently cripple its victims. It occurs mostly in rural areas. Because of these problems and the persistence of poverty in many areas, the life expectancy in Nigeria is 52 years for women and 49 years for men. 
 Did you know? 
In many homes in Nigeria, people clean their teeth using chewing sticks. Some of the chewing sticks have anti-microbial effects.
There has been a huge increase in the number of reported cases of AIDS in Nigeria over the last ten years. The government has sponsored public awareness campaigns but most have been underfunded. There are few medical resources available to those who have contracted the AIDS virus, and most cannot afford the many drugs required to fight the virus.

Nigerian governments have implemented a number of mass immunization programs in an attempt to bring diseases such as cholera, tetanus and yellow fever under control.