Cerebral Palsy

The story of Oluwalonimi (Nimmy) is hard to ignore, the first question that popped to my mind after reading the story was, where are the parents of this child?

Nimmy is a 4 year old girl with cerebral palsy. Nimmy’s parents hired Bisola Abajomi-Ojo, a registered physiotherapist to work with the girl three times a week.

Nimmy’s mother, Bukola Ayinde did her homework, like many women in her shoes, she read a lot about her daughter’s condition. Travelled with her family to Hungary for a month with her child all so she could learn how to better help Nimmy live a normal life.

She got to know Bisola Abayomi-Ojo through reading a church magazine – if one could not trust a referral whose name appears in a church magazine in Nigeria, who else can one trust?

I am not particularly sure why Ms Abayomi-Ojo was this nasty to the little girl. She seems like an informed person, who is aware of challenges facing disabled people in Nigeria. Even the girl’s mother said she thought Abayomi-Ojo was her friend given how she related with the family on the progress of their child.

What did Abayomi-Ojo do wrong – sometimes in 2016, she made a visit to Nimmy’s school for a physio session. During the session, it was just Abayomi-Ojo and Nimmy in the room. The school has a CCTV camera in the room. The whole time that she was in the room, she was on her phone. Nimmy, given her condition fell off the chair several times, at one point, Abayomi-Ojo tied the girl’s hands together – all of these were done in a hurry, she seems to be preoccupied with her phone throughout.

There are video clips online clearly showing all of these including hitting the girl whose parents are paying lots of money for ‘professional’ help. How sad can one be?

After the school showed the clips to Nimmy’s parents, they were clearly devastated but wanted to handle the case with care, eventually they got Nigeria police and Registrar of Medical Rehabilitation Therapist Board involved.

Getting justice through normal routes in Nigeria is difficult and can be frustrating to the point of withdrawing the case.

Only few weeks after Nimmy’s abuse at the hand of a well paid and trusted physiotherapist was reported, Abayomi-Ojo left Nigeria for the USA, now doing her masters.

Child abuse is not unusual as Nigeria goes, but for authorities to push aside a case of an abused disabled child in the hand of a trained professional is another rock bottom, even for Nigeria standard.

If Nigeria middle class can’t get justice on a case like this with proven evidence, what hope is there for more than half the population?

I am glad that Nimmy’s mother realised she is the best person to look after her own child. She has decided to write about her experiences and sharing it with Nigerians – I think this is crucial. Often, we rely on success stories of raising disabled children in the west, reading from people within the country is very important and hopefully will lead to government paying more attention to paediatric needs.

There is an ongoing petition urging the USA to revoke Abayomi-Ojo’s visa so she could go back home to face consequences of her action, only few more signatures from justice loving people from around the world to reach 10,000 target.

I hope justice prevails in the end.

Children as retirement plan

Where I am from, children are the retirement plan. We have many proverbs to back this up, Omo eni l’ò̩la (children are ‘the tomorrow’). This is probably one of the reasons there is pressure to procreate.

Most of the people I grew up with are subsistence farmers, they have enough to live comfortably. Many managed to build a house and paid for children’s education – formal or informal. For many people after the children are out of the house, things become a bit easier with a little surplus to live comfortably on, however, in many cases, there is not enough to pay a chunk of money for unexpected medical care (medical insurance in small town is a rarity).

From pulling money together to help elderly parents needing medical care to making visiting arrangements between siblings – this is all without saying the responsibility of children. Many parents will get this old age bonuses, unfortunately, some would not.

For many children, it is a joyful task, for others it is cumbersome. I suppose we all have different reasons for looking back to help elderly parents.

I can not and would never see my children as a retirement plan, this is because I believe my parents made huge sacrifices that I was a witness to so I could stay in stay in school so I am happy to be their retirement plan, the task is joyful and lighter as I am one of five – everyone does their fair share.

The story of Mrs Bolaji Isaac caught my attention a few weeks ago. 85 year old woman in Lagos,  she has been sleeping with a good samaritan who opened her door as the old lady was not feeling well and claimed her children and relatives had abandoned her.

Nigeria newspapers tend to be one-sided but here Punch did a job reaching out to get the children side of this story.

The story goes that Mrs Isaac has five children for four different fathers. Only two of the five boys were mentioned in the story. She used to live with one of her children but moved out to live on her own, eventually had to move out again due to some circumstances.

The words that was repeated several times while describing Mrs Isaac was ‘troublesome’, she was ‘troublesome’ so her landlord gave her a quit notice. She was ‘troublesome’ hence her son can no longer let her live in with him and his family.

Just thinking about Mrs Isaac lifestyle, a woman who has five children with four different fathers sounds like an independent woman who probably enjoys her own company and unlikely to be happy in a constrained environment.

Anyway, a story like this is sad because 85 year old lady with nothing to her name in a big city like Lagos may be able to get by with people gifting her food and roof above her head but if she comes down needing any medical attention, it will be problematic to get anyone to stand by her.

This is exactly what happened to Mrs Isaac, she had a partial stroke two weeks ago at Old People Home and later died due to complications. May her soul rest in peace.

It’s good to read that the Lagos state government took care of Mrs Isaac when no family comes forward.

Seems it ended not too bad afterall, one of her sons said he talked to her before she passed away and now are making plans with siblings for burial.

Mrs Bolaji Isaac is said to be from Ondo state, if I know my people well enough, now all the five sons are going to come out, they will cry so much that even neighbours will join them and after that is done, they will throw a big Owambe party. The money they claimed not to have all this while will suddenly sufficed – it is well.

While I am not judging these guys, Yoruba says àìsàn làá wò, enìkan kìí wo ikú – spend to give your loved ones good health, once dead, that’s the end (this is far from literal meaning but only the gist of it.

Health tourism

Last month was a news report of how OAU Ile Ife teaching hospital medical staff are working really hard to change the views that many people have of our local hospitals saying they had successful 14 open heart surgeries in 2016. Bottom line was that people are encouraged to stop health tourism – stay in the country to be treated by qualified doctors as opposed to going to India, Germany or in the case of our President Buhari, London, UK.

This is a local hospital to me when I was at home so it was nice to read of improvement, however, when I read this news I thought it was a waste of time talking to Nigerian public, most people can’t afford hospital bill at home let alone overseas bill.

Everyday people that can afford to foot their bill will think twice before staying at home for so many reasons – medical practitioner to be held accountable if things go wrong is just one.

I thought the message of the Chief Medical Director Prof Victor Adetiloye advocating for people could go a lot further if he targets people whose medical bills  are paid for with taxpayers money i.e politicians.

If there is a contractual clause that says politicians must receive their health treatment in the country or responsible for paying their own bill if treated abroad, we would have been one step forward.

Now with President Buhari and his hide and seek game and his medical status. A friend called today to ask where Buhari was as if I have a monitor strapped on the old man’s ankle, I am as baffled as everyone else when I read last week that the president is coming to London for a break and a medical check up.

Last year June, President was in London for an ear infection treatment – we yelled and reminded the president one of the many wasteful ways he promised not to undertake.

So this time again, President Buhari is here for yet another medical treatment, nature of illness undisclosed leaving Nigerians guessing the worse and a quick reminder of Yar Adua who passed away in office after months of deceiving Nigerians.

While being a president is arguably the most important job in a nation, I strongly believe a president seeking for health treatment outside is a failure on many levels. Just last year, ₦3.8B naira is said to be spent on Aso Rock clinic alone and yet the hospital is not good enough?

And most importantly if a president can not trust anyone within his own country with his health treatment, then we have a bigger problem.

To put how wasteful this trip is into perspective, a few years ago a friend’s told me that his inlaw who was visiting the UK was giving £5,500 bill after the birth of her child. This is a normal delivery with no complications.

Now imagine how much is being wasted on presidential kind of health treatment?

It is the same story with education sector, our country will never progress if we fail to invest money at home, it is obvious this lots don’t care.

Our politicians, especially all of the ones we’ve recycled for the last 4 decades are not serious and incapable of change.

It is up to us to now realise e no go better until we make them.


Witch, sexism and christianity

Those who can make you believe absurdity can make you commit atrocities – Voltaire

With technology we get regular updates of this ancient display of cruelty melted on innocent people in our communities.

Around Christmas last year there was a photo of an elderly lady circulated around, she was thin and frail. She was found climbing an electricity pole and in no time people gathered and made up their stories about her – the easily believed one was that she got tangled up in electric cables as she was returning from a witch meeting, so turned back to human as the cables were too strong for her feather. Thankfully, there were enough sensible people in the crowd as the woman was helped down the electric pole.

Dementia is not widely understood/talked about in Nigeria. I have heard people saying it is àrùn àwon alákọ̀wé (disease of the educated onesas if something in our DNA is changed just by being educated.

There are always hints to many madness in our society – publicly humiliated ones are often elderly, poor and more often than not, are women.

I knew just one man ever that was accused of being a wizard, he was feared, no one ever thought of hurting him, people can only gossip and never to his face. A  few years ago when I asked my dad why that chief was accused of being a wizard despite no evidence of him doing bad thing to anyone. My dad’s explanation shed more lights to the dark side of how women are perceived in our society. He told me that this man who inherited substantial farmland was a bully and selfish. He had four wives and more than a dozen children, he used his children to work the farm from very early age. OK. His sin? People could not understand how someone who had so much wealth refused to support a few children in school, who does that if not a wicked person? The most educated ones amongst the children only had primary school certificate at the time when others with less wealth are doing more for their children.

I grew up to know this man in his 70s and of course the rumour of being a wizard so I learned to look at him with side eye and never think anything bad because he was so powerful and capable of reading thoughts.

But why didn’t people stone this man because of unfounded rumours and yet the same group of people are eager to humiliate, shame and ready to kill a woman for similar wild imaginary tale?

Nigeria christianity and witch hunt:

Today I came across another incidence of an old lady, this one, according to Olofofo adugbo ‘neighbourhood gossip’ it happened at The apostolic Gospel Church somewhere in Lagos. The woman looks old and thin. She was on the floor rolling around to hide her face from the stones being thrown at her. Video clip too upsetting to post here.

The crowd were yelling:

Ki lo wa se nibi? Ta lo ran e wa? – What have you come to do here? Who sent you?

Here people calm one another down:

E duro na, e ni suuru – Wait, be patient.

E je ka gboro l’enu re – Let us hear words from her mouth.

This last line is telling. Because these church goers are somehow convinced that lack of electricity, jobs, fair distribution of wealth, security can now be blamed on this helpless old woman – they now talk to her as one would a child or worse, inferior. What a people.

Church accused witches get the worse treatment because ministers spend time reciting bible passages as if it was written yesterday. I like to remind myself that the Oyinbos that introduced christianity to us stopped the killing of women on the basis of rumours long time ago – ‘1716 was the last time a woman was hanged publicly in England and 1747 was the last time a woman was burned for being a witch anywhere in Europe’ (Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature).

This was possible for the Europeans due to substantial research that proves that anyone would say anything under pressure and when facing death. So why do we still allow our people to be brainwashed into humiliating innocent old people like this? I will never understand.

One way of ‘connecting the dots’ is to understand that we are not all perfect, and that old age has its many surprising sides – it is a whole new challenges for many of our elderly regardless of gender. Disease such as Dementia, a gradual deterioration in ability to think and reason like younger years is very common.

As Steven Pinker pointed out in his book that witch hunts is vulnerable to common sense – I totally agree with this sentiment, especially in a country like Nigeria with so many social and economic challenges, it is pointless trying to cite obvious objective examples.

All I can say is that since we will all grow old one day, a little act of kindness will go a long way to treating old women who come our ways, men too of course but I know we seldom torment old men.

We are no longer in isolated world, symptoms can be researched to educate one another rather than leaving all our fate on faith leaders.

Free surgery for underprivileged

I know quite a lot of our people can use this free service, most of whom undoubtedly are not on social media. Recipient has to be poor and needing surgery – Naija has loads of those. I read this is part of a bigger plan of providing better health care for all Nigerians. More information here

I am super sceptic with anything free in Nigeria, however, reading through what Prof. Adewole wrote about testimonies of those who have successfully used the service, it is worth a try.

Sometimes, one just have to trust what is presented.

I am just hoping that people in our small towns who are in need of one operation or the other will get this information to take advantage of this service. It is one thing to offer free service, it is a whole other story to get information to those who needed the service the most.

While advertising this great opportunity on twitter is a huge step forward, I do hope that this is taking to the streets, market places and religious gatherings as that is the best way to capture the most vulnerable in the society.

Also, it will be quite helpful to give a little information as to the type of conditions that qualify under this free service i.e hernia, knee injury etc.


Effect of broken trust

There are quite a number of things I don’t quite understand about the way we go about issues in Nigeria, not because things are all muddled up but because sometimes it appears that instead of facing the problem and work it out, we sometimes stuck in the old rotten way while we keep wishing that the change will happen on its own and everything will be just perfect without actively putting system into place and stick to it.

Nigeria with all its wahala without a doubt has good numbers of trained doctors in different fields. To begin with, it has always baffled me why politicians especially, choose to travel out of the country each time they are sick – even some would choose to go abroad (basically anywhere as long as it is not Nigeria) to do their routine check-ups.

I think this is probably beyond absence specialised Nigeria doctors – even if one can not be found at home, I would think out of the 8,000 doctors between the UK and the US of A alone, there is bound to be at least a few who can treat the president’s ear infection. It is hard to believe none of our teaching hospitals and handful of well-run private hospitals has the right diagnostic machine fit for president’s use.

Mr Buhari come across as someone who is not a high maintenance, he seems comfortable in his skin, and I would think he is patriotic so his medical trip to London isn’t to show off or belittle Nigeria doctors, actually, from my experience in the city, he is very likely to be treated by a Nigerian or someone with Nigeria blood – whispering “baba go slow, you dey hear me?” in London.

I think our politicians insisting on going oversea for medical treatment boils down to complete lack of trust. They are scared of what is really not there and it is just plain silly now. I don’t believe that we can not get a medical team vetted to provide needed care for the president, it is a shame as no one seems to want to take that big leap of faith and just run with the fact that people can be trusted.

Anyway, I wish Baba Go Slow quick recovery but sad that we still have to ré ìsun dà sínú ibú (empty pond into the sea) for politicians’ medicare.

Or what else can be the reason for addictive medical tourism?


Less contagious virus, yet kills more Nigerians than Ebola

Ebola campaign was the biggest citizens’ awareness campaign I have ever witnessed in Nigeria. The response after the Liberian man fell ill was timely, efficient and it worked.

Across the country, from cities down to our villages, information on what to look out for and what to do in case of any unexplained symptoms were fantastic. Media and word of mouth used extensively.

As highly contagious as Ebola was, Nigeria has only 7 (or 8) fatality. Death of 8 people is too many but it could have been worse given it is a highly contagious virus plus what has happened in the neighbouring countries.

Lassa fever, relatively easier to control infection than Ebola with higher chance of survival if diagnosed and treated early,  yet from January 2016 to date has killed more than 130 people why?

One would think Nigeria ministry of health will take Lassa virus as serious as Ebola, but that was not the case.

The difference is that Ebola started from Lagos, the commercial capital so a bit hard to ignore. The pressure on Nigeria government to do the needful was enormous, more so from the outside.

Lassa virus apparently since 2012 has seen increasing number of infected people per year, this year has the highest recorded fatalities, infection so far, also it has spread to many states than ever before.

So questions were being asked why the spike in number of infected people this year? And how can we best inform people?

From a non medical perspective, endemic such as this deserve the same awareness as we did for Ebola, not just within affected regions but it is important that everyone is aware and armed with information on how to stay safe.

A few days ago a lady asks ‘this Lassa virus they are talking about, is it real? People have been eating rats for a long time and are always fine, now they try to scare us with all these talk of a new virus when we are just recovering from Ebola scare.’

It was because of this question that I read up a bit on Lassa virus, first discovered in Borno in 1969 when two nurses died from the infection.

Rat infestation is a big problem in market places and homes – this is no surprise as our waste disposal in public places encourages that.

I don’t have any reason to doubt Lassa virus is real as there are enough evidence tracing the virus to its origin. I am aware that most of our people die needlessly and often in time the closest family may not be able to tell specifically the cause of death – this is one of the reasons we probably haven’t heard about it a lot in the south.

Even when the illness is properly diagnosed, it is still very common to hide the nature of sickness as we are creatures that stigmatised just about everything as shown in this video clip 2:14 where the man recovering from Lassa virus infection hides his identity for fear of being outcasted even when no longer contagious.

To the lady who doubted Lassa virus outbreak news, I sent her this wikipedia link as well as this video link below as it is a bit more detailed.

I don’t think we all have to be at the danger of Lassa virus to see the need to dispose our household rubbish more responsibly.

Pedophila: Protecting children

A few months ago, there was a story of a Nigerian guy serving a long jail term in a USA prison for raping his nine year old daughter.

The story goes that Emmanuel Ngene, like many Nigerians relocated to the States in the ’80s and subsequently returned to Nigeria for a wife. They had 3 children, wife and children lived in Nigeria until 2007.

From the same year that the Emmanuel Ngene’s family joined them in the States, his nine year old reportedly had been raped by the father, in 2008 the mother took the young girl to the doctors as she had been physically abused by the father and had marks on her body to show, at the same visit, the girl told the medical team how her father had been raping her. Full story here.

After the legal proceedings including cross checking to be sure the girl’s story was not made up to get her father in trouble (I am not sure why a nine year old girl would ever do that), Mr Ngene was served a long jail sentence.

The trial court entered 15 separate judgments. The court sentenced defendant to four consecutive aggravated-range sentences of 300 to 369 months imprisonment for the four counts of first degree rape; three consecutive aggravated-range sentences of 300 to 369 months imprisonment for the three counts of first degree sex offense; four consecutive presumptive-range sentences of 16 to 20 months imprisonment for the four counts of incest; and four consecutive presumptive-range sentences of 16 to 20 months for the four counts of indecent liberties with a child. Defendant timely appealed to this Court.”

Both Mr Ngene and his wife told different stories. The little girl’s story is consistent with the findings of medical team – she has been abused, raped consistently through out her short time in the States.

Mr Ngene said she was raped in Nigeria where they moved from whereas poor girl gave details of how her father had raped her. Mr Ngene said his wife had been complaining about how her expectations of the US was farther from reality, so she was getting back to him by making the girl lie.

A few Nigeria news papers that carried this news managed to look past the poor girl that was violated by the person she trusted the most. The focus was on how women brought to the USA changed after they have gotten qualifications and financially independent.

And the most ‘intriguing’ comment I read was that ‘our men don’t rape, that is not our culture’ – that is where I thought we have a long way to go if people who have access to the internet and presumably some education are still this much deep in denial.

In this January alone, leaving aside adult rape, I have listened to a 3 year old girl talking clearly about her uncle raping her, the mother shared the video on Facebook, she wanted to raise money to prosecute the uncle. Another one of a 4 year old raped by a neighbour. And another one whose wife caught him in the ‘act’ with his 3 year old daughter. The list go on.

The depravity is insanity. It breeds contempt especially if these children receive no support from general public.

Too many cases that is sad because the country has failed to realise that Paedophile sometimes has family and even if they have more than one adult sex partner, they will still prey on children including their own.

I believe Cindy’s story (the USA girl) and I am glad that she has moved to a country where Paedophile especially when it is a family member attracts maximum punishment.

I wish Cindy all the best in the future.

Shifting excess weight

Beyond physical appearance is the real issue that need to be addressed, the desire to live a long and health life is enough of incentive to pay attention to ones own health.

To add to Nigeria long list of issues that we are not comfortable to talk about is overweight and its potential consequences. I’ve read that God created both fat and thin so no one should judge, easy to know when to take a bow when religion is dragged to obvious issue that we have power to manage.

A friend and I were chatting the other week, she is concerned about her mother’s health. The mother is diabetic and has high BP. As common as this is in Nigeria, we are not doing much about it as cause of sudden death is usually unspoken about.

My friend’s mother is one of the lucky ones to have a family who is supportive. As 75 years old living in the city with her daughter, her lifestyle is different from what it once was, her physical activity has reduced significantly since retirement from work however, in order to stay healthy she takes brisk walk twice a day, and cooks her food separate from the family as she is on low sodium diet. This on top of her prescribed drugs to help keep her health issues under control.

Dr Biodun Ogungbo regularly writes about health issues as it relates to Nigerians on Punch. This week his article is about raising awareness to the background health problems that lead up to stroke. His article titled “Big stomachs, big bottoms” – is one many Nigerians can associate with straight away.

The saying the bigger the better is true but at what risk?

Adults will always choose what’s more important to them, but since our health sector isn’t equipped to treat stroke well, maybe we owe it to ourselves and loved ones to stay healthy.

” Everyone must know the root causes of stroke such as high blood pressure and diabetes. High blood pressure or hypertension is the biggest underlying cause of stroke in Nigeria.”  “Others who have been diagnosed, stop taking medications for various reasons. Some because their pastor said they were cured at the last retreat!” Dr Ogungbo

To solve a problem is to recognise there is one. I am glad someone who knew about the increasing rate of stroke from professional angle is talking about it, hopefully news will spread so we can all take pride in helping one another to stay alive and healthy.


Beyond physical attraction

Sickle cell trait is the term many Nigerians are familiar with. In my childhood, I imagined it to be disease that can only be seen in educated and well off peoples’ homes this is because most children with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) never made it beyond infant, so quite rare to see one around.

In Yoruba we call it Arunmọ́leegun (pain in the bone).

In my third year secondary school a friend’s sister joined my school. She had SCD. Her older sister is a good friend but *Ayo joining our school is an added incentive to visit her home just because I and other girls were curious. Other than the fact that Ayo got sick a lot and had plenty of medications to take, she is pretty much like any other girl both at home and at school.

To date she was the only one I knew who made it through secondary school. This is not to say that we do not have plenty of Sickle Cell Disease patients, it’s just that they died in infant.

Ayo’s parents are educated, father a barrister and mother, a teacher. They have three children, it was only Ayo who had SS. Ayo was well into her 20s before her untimely death, which came as a shock as everyone thinks she has had the hard part behind her.

Although Nigeria has large number of people with SCD and Sickle Cell Traits (SCT), knowledge about treatment remains very low and not too surprising that there is a stigma to it.

In the last decade, there has been increasing conversations especially among the youths about ways to avoid SSD., thanks to secondary school biology.

One of the commonly shared advice both on and off line was that young couple in relationships must do blood test to determine if they had SCT. I read that an AS must not marry another AS to avoid the risk of having an SS child.

I have heard quite a few of relationships break up this way but I am thinking if everyone in Nigeria who has  SCT and SCD are seen to be unsuitable for a partner, Aren’t we going to have bigger issue in future?

I don’t understand the unnecessary fear about the AS and AS getting together because, although they have 25% chance of having an SS child, but they still have a 50% chance of AS child and 25% chance of an AA – I would have thought this isn’t a bad odd given life on it own if full of risks anyway.

Apart from people ‘alienating’ us AS people, glad there are people out there with SSD and testimonies to cheer some soul up, I found Tosin’s website. She is Sickle Cell Warrior who has a lot to share with youths who are concerned about partners with SCT. Her website is quite impressive and speaks to the mind of modern people who are interested in understanding their odds and at the same time live life while it lasts, whatever the odds.

Here is another valuable information on SCD diagnosis and treatment.



*Not her real name

WC when functional pit would do

Here’s what a visitor to Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos where visitors’ toilet is the bush near Combined Clinics and Ward.

Sometimes, I stepped on the faeces of other people and the smell in that place is horrible. But what I do is to drop my own, and cover it up with tissue paper before leaving.”

Apparently Gbagada General Hospital used to have toilet for visitors, this was shut a while ago because it was always soiled.

This is my point about our general attitude to sanitation and personal hygiene. If a big hospital such as this decided to close down toilet facilities for visitors staying with their ailing family, where do you suppose they’d ease themselves?

For a hospital, why would anyone bothered to have water cistern toilet for visitors’ use if there is no water to flush? Having a simple pit like this one would have done the same job as it is low maintenance as less water is required for cleaning. 

Lack of visitors’ toilet is not peculiar to Gbagada General Hospital alone, it is the same with OAU Teaching Hospital Ile Ife, this is given my sister’s experience a few years ago. Shut put to the bush is all too common with visitors to public hospitals.

Although, this sounds disturbing given hospitals is meant to be a place to get better, however the reality is that as a nation we have terrible attitude towards adequate provision of toilet facilities. This is all too clear from home (especially in rural ares)/public schools/places of worship/market places.

Here we share similar story with India, they too have a huge problem with public defecation and lack of toilets in homes and public places. Their government seems to be keen about raising awareness and doing something about it, here.

I hope that Punch article about Gbagada hospital hits some nerves – maybe we’ll read about improvement soon.


PS: Good news that a few days after Gbagada General Hospital was exposed they have made efforts to re open the locked visitors’ toilet also provided temporary mobile toilets for visitors. 


Maternal healthcare

The case of Jessica Ugwuoke exposes the ugly truth of healthcare in Nigeria. Here is a woman who has being in a maternity home to give birth, after two days of being in labour was rushed to Medical Director of Samaria Hospital, Lagos.

By the time Mrs Ugwuoke arrived at the hospital, she had to have a c-section, unfortunately her baby did not survive.

Mrs Ugwuoke was tendered hospital bill of 285k naira, the amount the family said was too much for the family to afford. After the family paid 45k naira, stitches were removed.

After two weeks of not settling the bill, the lady was told to leave the bed therefore had to sleep on the floor with catheter still connected to the bladder and was prevented from leaving the hospital until the bill is paid.

The family got in touch with an NGO who pleaded to the doctor to reduce the bill as the husband has no job.

I think Dr. Caleb Ayanwusi of Samaria Hospital has done a good deed by treating Mrs Ugwuoke in the first instance, if the lady had gone to a teaching hospital, she is likely to be treated only when bed, medical supplies are paid for, this is, if our doctors are not on strike at the time.

Thankfully with input from local NGO Mrs Ugwuoke was discharged to go home and allowed to make payment after she has fully recovered and starts to work.

For someone who has just lost her baby, it is a pity she has to go through the ordeal that follows. Reality is that private hospitals are the most accessible health care providers but in order to stay in business, they must be paid for job done.

In a survey recently published by Pew Research Centre, Nigerians and other 7 Sub-Saharan Africa nations think healthcare is the top priority for their government to sort out by followed education.

What can we do to improve healthcare in Nigeria?

To begin with, President Buhari need to place restrictions on all public officials from travelling abroad for health tourism. Only then can they see importance of investing in local hospitals so healthcare can reach many more people that are suffering needlessly.