We are all Abioduns, waiting to happen

I read with sadness the story of Abiodun Babalola a Part 2 student of Obafemi Awolowo University, who was a victim of a robbery, which left him with injuries that he eventually succumbed to. From all indications, Abiodun should not have died the way he did from the injuries he sustained. Reports say, after he was injured, the Police and the School security officers couldn’t provide a car to convey him to the hospital and eventually he had to be taken with the University’s Chief Security Officer’s private car to the hospital, eventually he ended up at the University’s teaching hospital where for 5 hours he was not adequately attended to as required before he died.

Abiodun was the victim of a failed country; while he lived he coped with a poor educational system, which was so poorly funded he couldn’t stay on campus or do what he needed there, the robbers took advantage of a poorly functional security system to carry out the robbery, a poor emergency response system made it difficult for him to be transported in an ambulance and eventually he suffered from 5 hours and died from a dysfunctional health system in a country that asks him to be a patriot.

We are all victims of the failures of this country in one way or the other, a lot of us are Abioduns waiting to happen, this case reminds us of the NYSC young lady who died in Abuja from factors such as these. This is why we need to strive to ensure the best people lead and get into power. While I am not making excuses for the actions of the staff of the hospital, we cannot have an effective emergency care in this country without a functional emergency fund or health insurance to cover costs. I have experienced what it means to work in such places, and when you see people not responding because funds are not available, I know what it feels like, health workers routinely spend their money on patients, and it gets to a stage where they do not want to take such steps anymore, any system that depends on the goodwill of people to function is destined for failure. In cases where prompt response is given, there is inadequate manpower to go ahead with definitive treatment, as the people needed are somewhere else attending to someone else.

The experiences and the state of the country makes it hard for you to do the right things, these are not tenable no excuses but by the time you work in a public health facility for years, you learn hard and tough lessons that might end up wearing off your humanity and empathy. The health sector is failing as a function of the overall systemic malaise in the country, other sectors like education, agriculture, power, manufacturing etc are also exhibiting symptoms of the failure of the country. Nigeria is a chronically sick man of Africa.

The next time you see an article on “how to fix healthcare in Nigeria” just know it is a case of planning to treat candidiasis in a patient who has HIV without giving drugs to manage the HIV itself. Our healthcare is not suffering unusually from other sectors; it will not improve until we have an enabling Nigerian system that will enables it to grow. More Abioduns will happen in different ways.

Everything in Nigeria will kill you; the real solution is to fix the country itself, how?




..........work in progress

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