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Their Death Was Totally Avoidable

The death of a beloved is more painful than a pierce from a spoke's edge, and people feel better if all was properly done yet it's inevitable.
Nigerian Rotten Health System

Twice, I have slept on the bare floor of 2 different government hospitals. Those dual occasions a child was lost in one, and a mother did not survive in the other. What killed the child and mother were totally avoidable, but we live in a space with 200 million souls. A subtraction is always unnoticeable. Life means the difference between survivors and the deceased.

In the case of the child, he was born prematurely at 7 months. That was in 2014. The mother noticed early labor and called my friend, her husband, who rushed her to the General Hospital in Abuja where the lady received antenatal care. From the second month of the pregnancy, they have not missed any antenatal, what happened to her could be one of the uncertainties. A doctor was alerted and he confirmed the baby was coming. Unfortunately, there was no functional incubator, not a single incubator, in the hospital. But that’s not the issue. He referred them to another General Hospital, and the man and his wife were there in time.

The new hospital would not touch the lady. The reason: she had no card with the hospital. When the card was purchased, the doctor that would see her was busy somewhere.

Finally, the baby, who never drew a breath, became less important than the mother. It took 4 days in the hospital, and the grace of God, to save that woman. The child was buried in a shallow grave. Nigerian Rotten Health System claimed yet another victim.

Hospitals With No Drugs

In 2019, I slept again in a hospital. I watched doctors writing prescriptions of drugs that are not in the hospital’s pharmacy. The doctor will write 4 drugs that are urgently needed; the 4 drugs – not even one – was in the premises. Meanwhile, the patient was in the ICU, masked with Oxygen; knocking at her grave’s door. There was an equipment needed to extract something from the donated blood. The doctor said it was urgent. It took us over 3 hours to provide it because that tool was found tens of miles away.

If the FCT is like this, the State hospitals should not be discussed. I have been to State Hospitals in Awka and Onitsha. A resort for the masses. A place for mattresses and doctors but not for the needed apparatus.

The death of a beloved is more painful than a pierce from a spoke’s edge, and people feel better if all was properly done yet it’s inevitable.

This callousness is avoidable. The Government can do it but they would not. Anyone that steals from an individual is a thief, but anyone that touches the fund for healthcare is a murderer – there’s no difference between his crime and homicide.

I have been there – forlorn, and the system I looked up to, clueless. Every life is supposed to be the government responsibility. Anyone that is lost in a hospital must be accounted for.

If healthcare reform is in the mind of our political leaders in Nigeria, government hospitals will be revived.

This is not borne out of my knowledge of Hospital operations but a wound I won’t want any other person to bear.

We should be very careful of the people we vote into power.

Ozii Baba, a TedX Speaker, is an Onitsha-based storyteller and social entrepreneur. He works directly with children and young people.

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