BURNING POT BY PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON, PH.D.
Sun re o Oge: Fatalism of the Nigerian story
“Facts are stubborn things…” John Adams
Her name: Oge Anyaji, she was 32, cut short in the prime of her life. She was like a daughter to us, I still remember echoes of my wife saying, "now I have an additional wife to cater for. She had just married only two months ago to Victor Dickson, young hardworking dude who refused to be pulled back by the Nigerian phenomenon called failure.
Both of them, I am sure had dreams, I was one of the many persons who pushed Victor, ranted at Oge on the need for them to formalize their union, as man and wife, as they had been together for something like forever. Besides, humanly speaking it was the right thing to do.
Oge is dead, she died, she died on Wednesday 11th May. She is gone, and has left a void in the lives of the many that cared about her. A young amiable lady, cut short by sickness, by ill health, by a society with no conscious.
How has this got to do with Nigeria--I would tell you the story very briefly. One Anyaji got married in March, stayed backed at the village apparently to say last goodbyes to family. She came back to her husband in Jos, in April.
For a few days she was under the weather, and naturally as is the African custom, the husband must have done what is expected of him. A neighbor told me, she was struggling to eat for a few days, but had picked up.
Naturally, not eating she was weak. Let me quickly say that at this point, maybe a doctor or medical personnel should have been brought in, but common, it's like the regular one-off headache, or tommy pain.
Few days later she is said to have bleed profusely, and afterwards collapsed. The hubby rushed her to a mission hospital called OLA. She had lost blood, loads of it, she barely had half the pint her entire body needed. As the husband explained the hospital authorities disagreed with him that she had lost and that was the beginning of the end for Oge.
While we all submit to the will of the Almighty Allah in matters of life and death. The hospital authorities for several hours, could not place any diagnosis, could not tell us what the problem was, after all they are the specialists.
They placed her on oxygen, started to load her with blood. The young husband, and friends were placed on an auto-pilot of confusion. We made arrangements for more blood, paid the payables--We requested if a x-ray, scan, MRI or whatever could be done to ascertain what was in her, as it was obvious from the bleeding, anything could have occurred.
The hospital's closest excuse was she wasn't stable. Oge really wasn't stable, she was dying, I saw her, she could not recognize anyone, she was gasping for air.
Late in the night, the same hospital proceeded to do a referral, citing inability to deal with the case: at that point, we are told, she had or was having a hemorrhage fever...infact something like Lassa Fever.
With no oxygen, no proper attention, they practically chased the young man and patient out of the hospital, they were not owing, they had not committed any offense other than being sick.
With the referral, a young lady battling for life, an ambulance was rented, and to the State Specialist Hospital they proceeded, on getting there: The hospital told them, there was no space for them. Oge's hours, moments were ebbing away, and after quick thoughts, they moved to the Airforce medical facility in the state.
Let me spare us the agony, Oge died there, we had words like she had septic shock, we are told it was Lassa, and one-thing fever. The hubby, and mother-in-law were made to undergo tests, to fulfill all righteousness.
Sad truth, it was all hunkus bunkus, story of a poor health system, for a man who has only a hammer in his tools bag is bound to see every problem as a nail. While we all bothered about a fuel price increase, the hardship occasioned by a collapsing economy, the Teaching Hospitals were on strike, the specialist hospital was rejecting patients, other primary health care centers had become coffin bearers.
Infact should I add that the Ministry of Health called the hubby, and guess what they said on the phone, “please stay away from people”. Let me spare us the agony of the idiotic efficacy of the medical personnel that litter around that government arm, very sick persons I dare admit.
But are we not all sick...? We have to face it that whatever side of the coin, we are in trouble, the vital organs in this structure called Nigeria are in a case of good in places, bad in most places, a case of may pack up, may end up not packing up...but there are warning signs.
Does one need to wonder why all our "BIG MEN" travel out for medicals, some have have gone for serious health issues, some for the frivolous, while the rest have from acute asthma, intense migraine, stomach adjustment, pocket realignment, pimples, facials to irresistible stealing hands syndrome.
Tell me a Nigerian that is not sick, sick from lack of electricity, water, good roads, quality education and improved healthcare facility. These are the ones we can lay hands on, we forget the school fees, bills for unavailable utility, frustration of inadequacies which all result in abnormal blood pressure.
My dear Oge is gone, it was avoidable, in a nation that placed premium on the health of it's citizens. Sadly, that is not the case, from unprofessional practices, to blunt quackery, exploitation by medical practitioners, crass criminality...the list goes on.
There are so many Oges out there, victims of the malaise called the Nigerian Health system, with loses such as these, we create more citizens that continue to build hatred for their nation.
Oge, sleep, rest well, till we meet to part no more, we can only work hard, wish and pray that we are that are alive see that Nigeria is better than it is, however the best of our desires are futile if we are not ready to make it work. We will either endure our sense of fatalism or tell a news story—Only time will tell