Monday, October 1, 2012

Family Matters

by Jonas Dogara
I never wake up on Independence Day with this kind vex before. But I sleep with vex and I wake up with even more vex. I decide not to write this piece last night because of the vex wey dey my mind, with the hope say with less vex for my mind, I go write well. I done wake up and I still dey vex and I must write. So if this piece no be the kind of thing wey you dey used to from me, if I dey yarn plenty, abeg forgive me.

Yesterday I go Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, the biggest and best hospital wey the Rivers State Government get for Port Harcourt. I go there to visit one of my relations wey dey there. I leave there with tears for my eyes and with anger for my heart. Yes, anger. Dem say we be ‘children of anger’. If I no been agree to that title before, now I embrace the title with two hands and two legs!

Dem call me on Friday morning say one of my uncles dey very sick and dem rush am go hospital. Dem say e dey like say the man just dey shake anyhow, he eye dey shine like say dem use toothpick hold am open and e dey sweat like say e play football. My mama sef rush go the hospital.

I finally reach the hospital on Friday evening, around 6 o’clock to see my relation. Drip dey connected to him hand, and him mouth and eyes dey shake like say fly wan perch on top and e dey try to chase am away. I ask my mama wetin doctor say dey wrong with am. She say dem never talk anything. Doctor order dem to do plenty tests for the hospital, and even though we suppose get Free Medicals for Rivers State (as the governor tell us) dem pay plenty money to do the tests. Now, some of the test results done come out but no doctor done come look the results. The House Officer (as dem dey call one of the doctors) wey actually admit the man for morning, show that evening too. E no come check the patient wey e admit or see the results of the tests wey e order dem to do. When my mama, approach am to ask am if e go come see my uncle, e reply say e just come for another thing and not to see patients, and that no be him dey ‘on call’. Then the guy waka comot. That na how Friday end.

By Saturday morning, all the test results done come out, but nobody come see my uncle. E still dey the Emergency Ward and dem dey give am the drips wey dem dey give am since Friday morning, without diagnosis. I call my mama on Saturday evening to find out wetin dey happen and she say one Consultant been come there with him students, but when she meet am, the man say e come to see patients wey dem just admit that Saturday, therefore e no dey see another person. E finish and e go. Na so Saturday pass, and my uncle still dey as e dey – no diagnosis and no proper treatment!

Yesterday (Sunday) evening, I reach there around 6 o’clock again for evening and na the same thing I see. My mother and aunty done already tire. E be like say make dem slap somebody. My mama just dey talk say ‘It has not always been like this. I bath him. I change him, I do everything. The nurses are overwhelmed…’ By the way my mama na retired nurse, so she know wetin she dey talk about. Thank God say e done finally fit close eye dey sleep. I ask her who we fit complain to, and she say the people wey we suppose fit complain to, na dem suppose come treat the man – the consultants! And if you say you wan bypass dem and go to the management of the hospital, who you go see for the weekend? I just siddon there with my mama, dey listen as she dey tell me about the different people wey done die for that Emergency Ward, since Friday wey she reach there…. So, like my uncle, these people no fit afford to go any of the very expensive private hospitals for PH or fly go Germany like Patience Jonathan, so dem just dey die like fowl here.

Who dey responsible for this kind of healthcare system wey dey set up to reduce our population as quickly as e fit? The government. The governments of Goodluck Jonathan and Chibuike Amaechi. As, I understand, the Rivers State Government just dey retire experienced nurses like say the nurses dey disturb dem! Dem dey retire nurses more than dem dey employ. Also, because of the long freeze in employment into the Civil Service, during the tenure of Peter Odili, dem get big gap for experience between the old nurses and the new ones wey dem done employ now. So we get a situation where none of the State hospitals get enough nurses, compared to the patients wey dem suppose deal with. And as dem dey retire the old nurses, na who go teach the new ones? The result na say the standard wey no been dey very good sef done dey drop well well. For the Emergency Ward, last night with very many patients, na just two nurses dey on night duty. I no know how dem go cope with all those patients.

But government no go take all the blame for this one. What about the hospital management and the doctors themselves? Wetin happen to responsibility as a human being? By responsibility, I mean say if you get job, and dem dey pay you to do this job, you need to do the job. Whether you say the conditions no dey perfect, the money dem dey pay you no reach, nobody dey actually monitor you… e no matter. You need to do your job. If the conditions of work too bad for you, then resign. Why doctors no go come work? Why dem no go come see patients? Why a doctor wey admit patient and order dem to do test no go come see the results of the test and talk wetin dey worry this man or order some more tests? And if you say no be you dey on ‘on call’, why you no go get the person wey dey ‘on call’ to come do him job? And who be the administrators wey suppose dey make sure say doctors actually do their jobs? A few months from now, these doctors go find reason to go strike, and the whole of Naija go divide into two, with arguments for and against the doctors!

Just before I leave the hospital I turn to my aunty and mama and say ‘Last year, una say una brother Jonathan na the best thing wey go happen to us, abi? How far na?’

And both of dem turn to me ‘Na him go come solve the problem?’ one of them ask me.

‘Him go do everything? This corruption no dey before him come?’ the other one add.

I no be stammerer, but the plenty things wey I wan talk begin jump over each other and I just end up with very big stammer. I leave the talk there and take my vex go house….

This no be one of those articles where I go begin dey tell you wetin the solutions to the problem be. I go leave you to think about am, while I go try to solve my uncle own.

If you get anything to dey happy about, then ‘Happy Independence Day’.

This na @nfsqueezed on Twitter


  1. This story is sad...true, the Health Care system is messed up in needs work...from the local level up...

  2. Pity how bad the nigerian situation really is. We can only smile thru smoke-stained teeth and pretend that aal izz well. We need change and we need it fast.

    1. 'Pretend' na the word. Which kind country we be if we no dey value life?

  3. I no dey ever dey in support of drs or lecturers when they srike, i believe sey "if you're not satisfied with the pay, quit and move else where".
    Some people want make people dey worship them because them feel sey them hold master key. Like that dr wey order tests, him go want make una dey do am follow follow dey beg am make him look the test result. Something wey una go pay money at the end of the day. Sometimes when we dey do something, we suppose use human face and na wetin the bad eggs amongst drs no get be that, them believe sey them be demigod. i wonder how person go feel if him hear sey people die because him no take care of them.
    Sorry sey i type plenty. I wish you success as you dey find solution for your uncle. Goodluck na bad thing to wish person, especially if the person agree to get Patience.

    1. Thanks Salisu, na so we done see am. These same doctors wey no dey do their jobs go siddon with everybody else dey curse Jonathan today. I no know how dem think say dem dey morally superior.

      Hopefully, I no go get any Goodluck for this situation. As for Patience, I no get any at all!

  4. Bros, Na God go heal your uncle o. I just hope say people like ur mama and aunty don realise say Jonathan na big mistake.

    1. E dey painful to say, but I get my doubts with their generation of Nigerians. Dem seem to dey live in a world where a big disconnection dey between wetin the Federal Government dey do and wetin dey happen to dem in their daily lives. The big work there na to convince dem say the work of Jonathan dey affect everything, even the life of my uncle.