108 Modern Public Hospitals Now

What about the infectious diseases unit? What about children’s wards across the country? What about the maternity wards? What about us?

108 Modern Public Hospitals Now

Adeola Aderounmu

Södersjukhus in Stockholm. Nigeria must upgrade to International standard  pix: Acrona

Södersjukhus in Stockholm. Nigeria must upgrade to International standard
pix: Acrona

The governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson is one of those people disgracing Nigeria and giving the country a bad name. Recently he spoke out of sense as he tried to rationalise the demise of a criminal politician who died recently in Nigeria.

Mr. Dickson blamed the death of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha on the federal government of Nigeria. He has been part of the federal government and now a state governor, so by his own submission that makes him a murderer too.

News had it that Diepreye Alamieyeseigha may have remained abroad or even flown back abroad (depending on which account of his death is true). We are told that his final journey was influenced by the issuance of the threat of repatriation by the British. Diepreye escaped from the UK without facing justice for his crimes.

Why was Diepreye receiving treatment abroad? Why was his life expectancy dependent on the hospitals that are in foreign countries? While he was the governor of Bayelsa State, what effort did he make to build or upgrade the health institutions in Bayelsa so that if he and his family members living in Nigeria got sick, they could go to the hospital for treatment?

This is what politicians and policy makers in foreign countries do. They make sure that while managing their corruption at the barest minimum, that the institutions that will serve them and their people are in place. The hospitals are one of those institutions. Functional public schools, good roads and water are fewer examples of an endless list of the basic things of life that give humans the dignity they deserved.

Nigerian politicians have no respect for the citizens of the country. They don’t think the people deserve the things that make life worth living. They are so myopic and wicked that they do not know that they need to provide amenities that will serve them and the rest of the population when the need arises.

Recently l wrote an essay titled: Let’s Go Die, Abroad..!

It was a reaction to the growing number of shameless Nigerian politicians and the so called statesmen travelling abroad to end their lives in several hospitals across the world. Some of them are lucky, they return to Nigeria alive.

A former Nigerian president Umaru Yar Adua was bundled, packaged and repackaged in several countries around the world when he was sick. For 8 years he was the governor of Katsina State before he became the president of Nigeria and no hospital was built or upgraded to care for, or manage his specific chronic ailment. The rest is history.

If not stupidity, how else can one describe such a situation when people who loot public funds cannot even think of providing something that could prolong their lives in their nearest vicinities.

We are all humans and we will always be prone to diseases, ill-health and other forms of frailties especially as we age. It will not matter how much money we have legitimately or how much some people have looted. Is there a way to let Nigerian politicians know that looting is not an antidote to diseases?

I am sure many of us have written about the shame of Nigerian politicians dying in hospitals in foreign countries and returned as packages to Nigeria for burial.

Still, it is worth writing about again especially as it appears that the shameful act remains unabated. The death of the Ooni of Ife in the UK is regrettable.

We argue and we try to prove it that civilisation started on the African continent. We argue and we try to prove it that intelligence in the group Homo Sapiens is independent of race.

But the rulers of Nigeria are weakening our lines of arguments in many ways. For example when they steal and loot money meant for public uses and when they travel abroad instead of providing for their health needs in Nigeria. Why must Nigerian rulers travel abroad for treatment and admission at hospitals and clinics?

As a way of elaboration, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha  was one of the several corrupt Nigerian politicians who looted the treasuries in one of the states in the Niger Delta area. Since the Nigerian form of fighting corruption is dependent on who is in power in Abuja, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was granted state pardon after he escaped from the UK dressed as a woman.

If not for the fact that fighting corruption in Nigeria is selective and heavily biased, the likes of Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, and in principle 99% of those in present day PDP and APC should have been arrested and their cases dealt with in Nigeria. Why must it take the British or the American government to arrest Nigerian political crooks? How much money is Nigerian forfeiting in the process?

Nigerians have come to terms that their politicians can or must be corrupt. The new wave is that many Nigerians are seeking indictments in order to be convinced that a politician is corrupt. When a man serves as a state governor for 8 years and still travel abroad for treatment or medical check up, what kind of indictment are you looking for?

When a national assembly loaded with corrupt people give passages to corrupt ministers-to-be, where do you go for the indictment?

When a man cannot be probed because he sponsored the presidential campaign with security votes among other looted funds, then we say he is not corrupt. Today it is the PDP that is under the spotlight, well no problem. Every dog will always have its own day.

But Nigeria is in a constant mess. The way we live separates us and we see the demarcation between them and us. Death either abroad or at home appears to be only leveler between the corrupt and the saints, the rich and the poor. Life will remain a passage, and only fools don’t see the vanity of primitive accumulation.

Let me repeat, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha  could have built a modern hospital in Nigeria where people like him and the citizens of Bayelsa can be diagnos and treated with dignity.

Nigerian doctors are ranked amongst the best in the world but they work in several countries around the world helping to maintain the health care system globally.

How many times are we going to write about the need to ensure that our doctors, scientists and other professionals are provided with conducive environment and structures to work with in Nigeria?

Death is one of the few certain things in life. So what is the use of looting, stealing and stupidly accumulating wealth and then refusing to build hospitals in Nigeria or refusing to equip the ones that have been built?

Now this is my challenge to the Buhari-APC mandate before the end of May 2019.

Look around the various states in Nigeria. Give yourselves the marching order to equip and upgrade the existing hospitals to the standards of the hospitals you usually visit abroad. If anyone suggest that this is not possible, that person is probably an enemy of progress.

In additon to the first mandate, a second one is that every state in Nigeria must have at least 3 big modern public hospitals.

Some states like Lagos may have may even need more than 5 big public hospitals because of the extreme high population of the state and also as a result of the frequency of accidents and number of sick people.

The Buhari-APC mandate may want to forbid any serving politician from seeking medical abroad say from 2017 when some serious work and upliftment should have been possible.

At the existing hospitals, an evaulation of the situation needs to be done. All the units including the Accidents and Emergency should be upgraded. If this happens before the next senator is invloved in an accident, then he/ she can be treated anywhere in Nigeria.

The recent sojourn of Akapbio in a foreign hospital is absolute stupidity coming from a man who boasted that he built a world class hospital in Akwa Ibom. I am yet to get a report on why he was not treated at the world class hospital in Akwa Ibom.

What about the surgery units? For how long will hard earned income and donations be packaged to India for correctional surgeries? How many Nigerians have died because of manageable diseases that they could have lived with until old age?

What about the infectious diseases unit? What about children’s wards across the country? What about maternity wards? What about us? Where should we go when we face life-threatening diseases? Is there anyone reading this who has not lost a mother, a father, a brother or a sister due to preventable health situations?

What about making sure that the upliftments are taken as priorities? What about developing a health care system that will not put the cost above the importance of life in Nigeria? Does living long have to depend on how much money one has and which hospitals one can attend?

When the lives of the people can be prolonged by how much money they have, then the essence of living in such a country is lost. It is a disaster by all standard!

Nigeria needs to improve the health care insurance process and health care delivery system.

This demand for 108 modern public hospitals is not an exaggeration and it may even not be enough to meet the needs of 170m people. But the 108 hospitals in questions are the publicly available hospitals to stop the sojourn of Nigerian politicians abroad. They will also meet the needs of the citizens at large. And don’t forget to bring back our doctors from abroad. Bring them home..!

In the meantime, don’t also forget that our return to regional government is a must because it is the only way to purge the major unrests across Nigeria including the Boko Haram war for which the APC-Buhari mandate has shown it may not win.

The 108 hospitals challenge is on. Now I start to count…

aderounmu@gmail.com

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