HEALTH OR DEATH CENTRES
Health centers for women and children were established in Nigeria by the late Olikoye Ransome Kuti a former Minister of Health twenty years ago, the essence was to bring medical facilities to nearer to the masses. In my country, political leaders are more comfortable with traveling to developed countries for medical treatment therefore whether medical infrastructures are inadequate or not, is not our President’s headache, as long as Germany, Switzerland, America, Britain governments equip their own hospitals, we have the money, sea never dries, crude oil oozes in Nigeria, they can afford the bills.
Everybody is free to check the maternal and infant mortality rates of Nigerian, life expectancy is 46 and malaria kills more than the dreaded ADIS in Nigeria. To my fellow Nigerians, exposing us while the government is trying her best possible to rebrand Nigeria with billions of Naira that could have been utilized in rebranding our stomachs (so sorry about the woman involved, so intelligent Dora Akunyili)
On February 21, 2009 a 32 year old lady was delivered of a sextuplets, the woman was admitted to a teaching hospital three weeks before the delivery when the private hospital she earlier on registered with could not handle the case, two doctors attended her delivery but she died of internal bleeding barely 24 hours after the delivery because there was no endoscope to assist in detecting the internal bleeding. To say that is not enough, four of the babies died before a month after their delivery. The hospitals were aware that the woman was carrying sextuplets. We should all cast our mind back to the lady with multiple births in America, earlier on in the year.
When I listen to people uttering facts about happenings in Nigeria, especially the uneducated ones discussing matter arising, I begin to wonder, does it really means that even uneducated women are aware that our leaders have really disappointed Nigerians? Global statistics of asylum seekers released by United Nations for Commission for Refugees have shown that in 2008, more Nigerians applied for asylum, Nigeria was listed alongside Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Somali, Eritrea, there are not less than 59,000 Nigerians without legal traveling documents, while more than 10,000 Nigerian migrants died between 1999-2002 while trying to cross Europe through north Africa, 1.469 Nigerians were serving various terms in UK prisons alone 15 in Libya, 6 in Afghanistan, 60 Nigerians were facing death for drug offences in Indonesia while 18 in Malaysia. The government is not particularly interested in their plights as long as the population is gradually decreasing by all means.
Despite the fact that there is no war in Nigeria but victims are recorded daily, If there are good news, who wants to write bad ones?, I am not a sadist but till the new Nigeria is achieved, when I can walk into a hospital and be treated of Malaria freely, when I will not have to leave my house by 5.00am in the wee hour of the morning in order to pick number for antenatal in our General hospital in Lagos, until when a toddler can be given paluta injection freely by a government whose president can afford to send every member of his family abroad for medical check up because he has lost hope in the medical personnel and facilities, whereas there are up to 5,000 Nigerian medical personnel overseas who ran away in search of greener pastures, till then will I stop exposing their evil acts.
Today it is about the health facilities, not the one for the rich but for those women who continually weep whenever they are leaving our hospitals, for those who resolved to go back home to die, for that woman who worked away at the Health centre in Lagos “she said if it was the will of God that my son should live, he will not die”, though there is nothing I can offer but continually voice my opinion, about leaders who can afford for all but decide to amass for themselves.
In my University days, about twelve years ago, the health center within the school was referred to as death centre so I do not even have any course to visit the school clinic until a day when my uncle called me that his wife went to the school health centre to complain about headache but she has not returned home after hours, he went there only to be told that the wife developed another sickness and died with few hours, that day, I understand fully why it was called death centre and I never visited the clinic again till last month.
I had runny stomach and was rushed to the health center in my locality, entering, I met up to hundred women who came for ante natal, though it is a very small building, all were cramped and we bough the card to see the doctor, waiting, eventually he came after hours, I was complaining when the lady beside me said, oh no the Doctor is just a volunteer within the community because the government could not provide one, he comes in three times in a week, I quickly kept quiet. The queue was another case but I was rushed in early enough, he examined me and placed me on a drip immediately he handed the prescription to my husband, “get these for her, he left and the Doctor said, after the drip you will have to run blood test to know what we are treating but you are too fragile to walk”.
In no time I was placed on a bed, the doctor came over and inquired about my husband, he came in at that time he came in with a nylon of drugs followed by a nurse carrying a cotton wool in a saucer followed him, my husband brought the prescription he bought and the doctor began to work, he said all the hospital could provide was the piece of cotton wool placed on this platter of gold, the plaster to hold the needle firm to my hand was bought by my husband, the health centre has no mentholated spirit to clean before injecting me, I had to buy that too.
After blood test, I was diagnosed to be suffering from malaria and typhoid, to buy palutha injection and some other drugs, the doctor advise that I should be fast because he will close by 4 pm, as I was leaving I saw a woman weeping profusely, she was carrying a child, I inquired what the problem was and she narrated how her neighbor encouraged her to come to the hospital because she knew already that Nigeria can never offer her son any free medication. I calmed her down, collected the doctor’s prescription and read, there is palutha too, I thought within me if I can donate to this woman one out of mine but when my husband came to even tell me that he could not afford the medication, except he withdrew money from his account, I was afraid, the drugs are expensive, two palutah is 10 USD, I know I will not be able to help the woman. Health centre could not provide Paracetamol for the child. In actual fact she said she boiled some local herbs for the child but it had no positive effect on the child. With no apparent solution from me, she walked away sobbing. I wept too, with my level of education; I could not afford to pay for her son’s medication and mine!
How many women and children have walked away into untimely graves disappointed in a government nominated/appointed by powers that be in a country where our votes do not count? Free basic health / Education were promised by past and present administrations but in reality all we experience is mirage. Rebranding is not for Nigeria. What is rebranding, showing beautiful graves where the carcass stinks within, a white washed sepulcher with content no one can stand the stench. Beautiful and colorful Nigeria on international screen but populated with 148million Nigerians where 140million individuals who cannot afford nutritious 2 square meals not three to request for three is asking for two much. If we are comfortable at home, our children will not be in jails in Afghanistan
Although, I am not a medical practitioner but I have delivered a baby in a government funded hospital where I had to buy even the gloves doctors used in taking delivery and paid for every night spent in the hospital. Nigeria is my motherland with no plan to run away but I will continually write about these hardships, until malaria treatment is indeed free for children, pregnant women can receive adequate free medical health care, stop the deception to the whole World that Nigeria is part of the countries working toward the achievement of the Millennium goals and until we all decide to take our destiny into our hands, enough is enough of nominated and plan less leaders imposed on us by past presidents and gullible individuals who are concerned with what they have and not how the have-nots can survive.