It has been said that in all societies but especially in the developing countries, health care is inextricably linked to a nation's political and economic system. Medical underdevelopment is a necessary feature of economic underdevelopment. Health care in Nigeria has traditionally been conceptualized as an autonomous, self-determining phenomenon without links to the wider society; and morbidity and mortality problems explained as internal factors, i.e., inadequate hospitals, clinics, equipment, and materials, and a lack of the necessary personnel. The structural underpinnings of these internal problems are assumed inconsequential and not addressed, and so is the international dimension. This essay goes beyond the modernization paradigm by locating Nigeria's health and sickness problems in the context of underdevelopment, demonstrating how health care is located in the context of Nigeria's political economy. 1st, Nigeria's position within the capitalist world economy is examined along with the structure of power and privileges. Against this background, prevalent morbidity and mortality patterns, and the policies to combat these, are discussed. The current health care crisis, it is argued, must be located within the framework of underdevelopment, and solutions are inseparable from overcoming present structural arrangements.