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Our Broken Healthcare System



At some point, I stopped listening to Brekete Family Radio because the stories that would often be aired were too strange to be real for me to comprehend. I often wonder how ordinary Ahmed and his team were able to sleep after hearing how wicked/uncaring/nonchalant/dubious we are to each other on a daily basis. This morning I stumbled upon this story. It was one of those stories that we have gotten accustomed to hearing and shrugging our shoulders. In a country that the world is looking at our population as becoming a problem in the next couple of years, there is a huge baby market. There are still couples that are barren and desperate for children.

There are young girls who are getting pregnant and dumping their babies that are filling up orphanages. There are even the “so-called baby factories.” There are merchants of flesh (really young flesh), they are the demons in human flesh who trade in babies for the most nefarious of activities and I could go on and on. This story threw up once again how bad our health system is. How deadened the “savers of life” have become. How the ordinary man is at the mercy of his fellow man. How ‘illiterate’ our citizenry is and how they are being taken advantage of. How the social contract has been shredded to bits and trampled underfoot.

The story goes thus: A woman is seeking the return of her second baby that she believes was taken away from her during delivery. During her pregnancy she had been told she would give birth to twins. From the details, there was never a time in the care that she was told that there was a possibility that she might only be carrying a singleton and not twins based on the scans. This piece of information if relayed during care might have saved everyone the drama that has ensued, presuming there is no foul play. Her doctor examined her on January 15, and informed her that she would need to have a C-section because one of the babies was breach and the other traverse. She was given January 17, but her Estimated Delivery Date (EDD) was February 17, and she protested. The midwife’s story about the delivery conflicted with the doctor’s story further giving credence to the allegation that there was indeed a second child.

In the studio was a team from the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada comprising of the Head of Gynecology, Consultant Radiologist, Senior Registrar, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Servicom Desk officer, Midwife, Senior Registrar Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Hospital’s Legal Officer. The doctors stood by their story “there was only one child.” The disappearance of the baby was narrowed down to a situation called “vanishing twin.”  The Registrar of the Medical and Dental Association was called and he gave the procedure for reporting a case but asked for the police to be involved because it was an issue of a missing baby.

All the stories that emanate from various sectors I would have thought they would have taken their jobs literally and gone undercover to establishments like this and gotten firsthand information and just maybe; just maybe, they might be touched and moved enough to fight for the electorate. (there is nothing wrong with dreaming). A number of things came out from the story:

1.       The healthcare system is broken and this “track” is part of the broken record.

2.       The trust in the system is next to nil. I can understand why. Apparently, the doctor called her to remind her of her hospital appointment.

3.       The need for patients to feel safe when they go to hospitals. The woman while on the slab was arguing that she had two babies and demanded to know where her second baby was. She was told severally to ‘shut up’ by the doctors in the room. She received sense and decided to keep quiet and agree with the situation that there was only one baby because she feared she might not make it out of the theatre alive. That she had that thought and mindset in such a situation was quite unfortunate.

4.       That husbands of pregnant women might need to start being allowed in the operating rooms to witness the number of children their wives give birth to.

5.       During her ordeal, she was waiting for her husband to pick her up, but she was hurriedly and rudely told that she needs to leave because the hospital bed was required.

6.       Keep all your documents no matter how innocuous the document might be. You never know when you might need it to buttress your story.

7.       Simplify the language for the patients. Also let the patient know important information every step of the way. This might just be the problem in this case

Keep you posted.

As if that wasn’t enough, there was a young lady that had been given steroids to treat a fever by a chemist. The lady had gone momentarily mad; beat her landlady, stripped in public, disgraced her boss and so had become ‘persona non-grata’ and to cap it all; she couldn’t walk.


“Nigerians remain threatened by security challenges-FG” if there ever was an irony….



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