Shameless Nigeria: Waiting For China, UK, Germany and India

A former Nigerian president, one Musa Yar Adua  was transported round the world because of kidney problems and he eventually died in transit and was bundled home.

For how long will this continue? What is wrong with the black people in Nigeria? What exactly is wrong with us?

Shameless Nigeria: Waiting For China, UK, Germany and India

By Adeola Aderounmu

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The topic l am about to address is on medical tourism and l have written about it on several occasions before under different headlines like “Let’s Go And die, Abroad”. A simple search on my blog with the word “hospital” will reveal that this topic is close to my heart.

In the 1950s, Nigeria had arguably the best medical facilities in Africa and one of the best medical deliveries in the world.

Fast forward to 2019, Nigerians are dying like cockroaches and rats as a result of absence of basic medical facility. Rural and localized health care have been thrown to the thrash.

Poverty has ravaged Nigeria. My term, “mass poverty” has now been adopted by the WHO and other institutions and renamed “multidimensional poverty”.

A poor, sick person in Nigeria dies without medical attention.

An income earner who gets sick spends all of his/her income and life savings on treatment.

Irrespective of your status, serious illness in Nigeria may become terminal and end your life even when medical sciences have solutions or medications that can prolong your life.

There are other variables that interplay with the situations highlighted above that determine the outcomes of various troubles with our health situations in Nigeria. For example, an accident may lead to death even when the accident is not life threatening.

Nigerians have now resolved to the social media mainly Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to carry out funding for sick members of their families and close friends. In very many situations, sick people are left to die at home or in some ill-equipped medical facilities where the sick person is primarily responsible for procurement of medicine and payment for treatment.

Rich people travel abroad to China, England, Germany and India amongst other places overseas in order to receive treatments for various categories of illnesses. Nigeria’s corrupt politicians travel primarily to UK for treatment. The list is endless of where our politicians and rich people end up when they are sick.

As you are aware, Buhari is an out-patient in a London hospital and he had been a dictator in the early 80s and now a president since the last 4 years.

In my opinion, Nigerian politicians deserved to be arrested and sentenced to life time imprisonment starting with Buhari. I do not understand why in the last 4 years for example, he could not revitalize the health sector so that he can stay in Nigeria to receive medical help for his ailments.

I do not understand why the rich people in Nigeria are so foolish that they cannot use their wealth to build hospitals with world class facilities so that they can stay in Nigeria rather than risk long flights to reach help abroad.

I do not understand why Nigerians can come together only to protest against rape and not against poor medical conditions in the country. I do not understand why we have to raise funds on WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook for every sick person in Nigeria who need specialized help.

Nigerian doctors are scattered around the world and performing miracles every day in various hospitals around the world. The same is for our nurses. But back home in Nigeria, we have stubbornly refused to revitalize our health sector.

It is not only our health sector that has suffered. Invariably all aspects of our lives have suffered due to the impacts of politics. In 1966 the military coups derailed Nigeria and led us to a civil war. Some people said it was a genocide.

But we are under a system of government that has brought the dominance of the Fulanis and a very obvious failed system of governance.

What is the significance of all our brilliant minds when we cannot disown this useless system that has brought us to our knees, a system that has promoted genocide, terrorism and outright elevation of poverty beyond comprehensible proportions.

The unitary system was/is a free fall from our glorious heights in the 1950s to probably the most useless country to be born or live today.

It is very disgusting how we carry on hoping that things will get better whereas they are getting worse.

In recent weeks, billionaire businessman Otedola donated 50 000 dollars to former Nigerian international Christian Chukwu so he could receive treatment abroad. Christian is healthy now and back to Nigeria. Several people did not make it. They died at home or in a dilapidated Nigerian clinic/hospital.

I know a young man whose live is now hanging in the balance. He needs millions of naira to get to China for treatment. Funds are being raised on the social media, again! It does not have to be this way. There is a government in Lagos state. Why are kidney problems and other illnesses not treatable in Nigeria?

What would it take to divert bullion vans from the homes of politicians to investment in our health? What are we supposed to do so that we can be treated with dignity in our country, on our ancestral home?

A former Nigerian president, one Musa Yar Adua  was transported round the world because of kidney problems and he eventually died in transit and was bundled home.

For how long will this continue? What is wrong with the black people in Nigeria? What exactly is wrong with us?

aderounmu@gmail.com

 

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Confronting the rot in LUTH By Hope Eghagha

Culled from the Nigerian Guardian August 5 2008

AS we try to define ourselves as a nation, there are certain institutions that ought to stand firmly and serve as centres of excellence. No nation worth its salt ought to toy with the health of the people. One of the institutions I grew up to meet as an excellent health centre is Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Idi Araba. Its name was a dread, as the final arbiter on health matters. I remember the first time my General physician referred me to LUTH, the question that cropped to my lips was: ‘Am I in such a terrible shape? This was back in the 1990s. I reluctantly went, endured the slow pace, incompetence but eventually went home smiling. Since then I have had cause to go to LUTH on visits on several occasions. My ears had always tingled with stories of gross and criminal inefficiency in that ‘centre of excellence’. I was a distant observer until the events of June 23, 2008.

A husband and his wife, Israel and Viviane Emuophe, vibrant and hopeful in the abundance of life offered by life were knocked down by a drunk driver on Sunday the 22nd of June right in front of a house along Lekki/Ajah road where they had gone visiting. Good Samaritans rushed them to a clinic nearby. The wife, a Youth Corps member serving in Lagos State and eight months pregnant was badly wounded on her lower limb. As for the man, we found out later that he was fractured on both legs. The doctor in the temporary hospital in Ajah advised that the limb be amputated immediately. Instead of referring the patients to LUTH or Igbobi for specialist intervention, he kept them there throughout the night. He was more interested in his hefty fees (over a hundred thousand naira for stabilising them overnight!). Friends and relations on the ground advised against outright amputation. In their view, such a decision should be taken at Igbobi. The patients were moved to Igbobi early the next morning. Igbobi advised that the lady be taken to LUTH. That was where we encountered criminal inefficiency and neglect of the first order.

The lady arrived at LUTH at about 10 in the morning. It took the intervention of a retired Matron in LUTH for the victim to receive minimal attention in the Emergency Unit. We were asked to buy almost everything that was needed to treat an emergency case. We patiently did. The decision was announced that there would be surgery. The patient was moved to the theatre. As at 4p.m., nothing concrete had been done. That was when we decided (Dr. Clement Edokpayi and I) to call up some of our colleagues who work in LUTH. We also called up people in town who had some influence in the health sector to reach people in the management of LUTH. A matron on duty gave a false report to one of our contacts that the lady was already in the theatre. I countered that immediately. We found out that as at that time, there had been no official communication with any of the consultants to handle the job. Our intervention worked. The doctors showed up.

We started the process of getting this and getting that. At about 9.30p.m. when all was set for the surgery, we were told that an x-ray had not been done. She was wheeled back to the x-ray room where I confronted the Professor in charge. His explanation was plausible. Except cases are referred to him, he cannot do an x-ray. Finally, the x-ray was done and at this time we were only interested in saving the life of the lady. Her baby we suspected was gone. Her little cries of ‘I want my life’, made it imperative for some action to take place. Surgery intervention finally took place at about 12 midnight. My little Christian sister lost both her right limb and her eight month pregnancy.

My position is that in LUTH the simple routines and procedures expected have been compromised. Nobody is in charge. No doubt, the consultants and doctors are efficient. In their private clinics, they do very well. LUTH is currently a carcass of itself. This is not the LUTH that the wife of a Head of State patronised when she was going to have her baby in the 1970s. The equipment is obsolete. LUTH is a danger to health care. The entire institution is a mortuary. Death smells around the wards. In the Modular Theatre, referred to as one of the best in the country, surgery could not take place there because there was no back up to power supply. Most of our colleagues we discussed the matter with simply agreed that the place needs to be overhauled. The concept of management currently in place should go. Who will overhaul LUTH?

Indeed LUTH is a victim of the corruption which has steadily crept into the country. The Obasanjo administration announced and launched new equipment for LUTH with fanfare. As we have found out, it was a fluke. None of those items deserves to be called modern. They were second hand, or Tokunboh bought for the purpose of making money for the boys.

LUTH needs to be thoroughly reorganised, re-structured, re-ordered. A new management that can enforce its rules should be put in place. If a patient comes in at 10 a.m. and does not receive attention until 4p.m., somebody should be penalised for it. This should be routine as it is in the medical profession. We do not need to report to SERVICOM for nurses and doctors to do their jobs. Most of the nurses are so indifferent to patients that I wonder where they were trained. During my last visit to the female surgical ward there was a breast cancer patient who kept howling for the duration of my visit. The nurse kept passing her by. I was told that she had been in that condition for three days. Where has the human spirit gone in LUTH?

The Minister of Health or the Federal Executive Council ought to intervene directly in LUTH. Management is practically dead in the place. Most of the consultants are first rate when they have to work outside LUTH. However, they work in an environment that lacks the basic tools. They cannot perform magic. Sadly, the available equipment is not efficiently utilised. This is the crux of the matter. There is too much indifference in the place. Too many patients die from lack of care and attention. Too many people are dissatisfied with working conditions.

It is very easy to give explanations and rationalise our inadequacies. I expect that LUTH would soon issue a rejoinder claming that its facilities are excellent and that staff are doing their best. But the truth is that no one who has the means takes his relation to LUTH. They simply go abroad. Perhaps this is at the core of the problem. The people who are in power do not patronise the hospital. German and American hospitals wait for them. Even our President has no faith in LUTH. But is a turn-around of LUTH not possible that would make the First Citizen of the country patronise it when next he is ill? With the necessary will, it is possible. This is all I ask for so that another young lady or man would not lose precious life or limb or both.