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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The tidal current of health; humanity in silence

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By Isa Aliyu Chiroma

The subject I will be addressing today is not only on humanitarian, its economic importance can hardly be underestimated. The anomaly costs a lot of lives each year. In either way the population, directly or indirectly is affected with this attitude. Perhaps those intellectual and moral tragedies happening in our hospitals, which have pulled all the triggers on all the guns which are loaded with our anger.

I thought of myself as a doctor who has had a rough night shift. But it was out of anguish and despair that I clung to that image. Yes, that was my dream at the beginning, but we encounter some certain changes in our lives, which gives birth to destines of life.

Last two weeks, I was with my colleague who was admitted at the university clinic. This was due to his health condition and needs close examination. He was detained in the hospital for two days under the watch of the doctors to help them compile their reports after diagnosing. We were sent to the university teaching hospital for an ultrasound checkup.

Coming to the teaching hospital with a letter of referral from the university clinic, we are required to verify his NHIS status as each student pays for that every academic session. After he was verified, we went straight to the radiography department for an ultrasound. Upon arriving at the record room to submit the referral letter given to us from the university clinic, we met some fellow students in the room. We thought that could even be easy because we might know some of them.

I stood in awe of the compelling incidence taking place in the record room. We found two males and two females respectively. We spoke to them politely and told them what we need. The ladies never looked at us, they were busy with their phones. Then one of the male answered us so harshly without manners. “we can’t attend to you without a letter from the doctor”. You know its quit frustrating when you see your mate who is just opportune by chance to be there and the manner he treats people is disrespectful. It was like watching a movie. We were strangely aware that we came late after the call have been made and the doctors are on break. You will be surprised, doctors on break in the hospital. They refused to attend to us, and our patient was in pain.

But most of all, we had to return to the university clinic to meet with the doctor and update him about the situation. It became apparent he was aware of such behavior. He called one of the doctors in the department and referred us to him. Coincidentally, he was also on his way to the hospital at the time, then we went together. The doctor he contacted was not on seat, but he will be next on call. So he asked us to wait for him. We waited for more than six hours. We were at the hospital since 11 am and could not get an ultrasound. The doctor later arrived after the sunset prayer. But hopefully, we were able to get the result of the ultrasound that night.

When you look at our hospitals, a lot of those incidences are happening, most especial in government hospitals. You will be shocked when a doctor tells you to go to a private hospital to get what you want in no time. And you might likely meet him in that private hospital working. A nurse told me, sometimes they can work for three months without salary. Does that make them to be insane and treat their patients the way they like? When you go into our government hospitals, check the wards, you will find a nurse treating a patient and shouting at him. Which one should he listen to, the nurse shouting on top of her voice or the pain he is going through.

I don’t say all the health workers lack those manners, no. There are few exceptions among them, you can easily find someone among them who will even help in some processes. But they are very rear in the government hospitals. But what I am mostly concern now is the coming generation of health practitioners’ schools are producing. When I say school here, I mean those institutions they graduated from.

Anyone with real sensitivity in human relationships will treat his fellow humans with respect, even if you think you are better than the person you are providing your service to. It was reported by Jabir ibn Abdullah that our beloved prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Politeness with people is charity”. We must admit that we were one of the victims of this attitude, either directly or indirectly.

I remembered vividly, just few months ago, I was together with my mother in a private hospital and she was to undergo blood transfusion. In the hospital lab, we found some students from collage of health doing their attachments. There were four females and one male. I was sitting at the reception after she went into the lab for the collection of her blood sample. Two of the female students came out of the lab and sat beside me at the reception. Then my mother inquired, why are those two sitting outside while the rest are inside seeing what is happening. The lab scientist told her he asked them to go out if they are not ready to learn, and they went out. He said others were busy working doing one thing or the other in the lab and they were busy pressing their phones. And he said something very important, “that is how their parents will keep spending money on them thinking they are learning and they are here busy wasting their time”. This is one scenario out of other things happening in schools and other related academic environment.

I am sorry to say the kind of health practitioners we are producing lack how to approach patient or the people who came to hospitals with patients, most especially those coming from villages to the cities to seek medications. Yes, somethings humans are hard to deal with, but your approach to them matters. But the final shock of all this is, a lot of “quacks” are being produced. It might sound uncultured to the ears, but that is the truth unless we don’t want to hear.

I think is now time for years of metamorphosis and transformation to be a good ambassador of their represented institutions where they are being trained to give service to humanity, to save lives rather than not giving hope to your patient. And I think, the utmost happiness of any health practitioner is to see his patient been treated well and happiness enfolding from their faces, because they will never forget you.

Beyond the high need of qualified doctors in our hospitals, we need to be good people. We are all craving for a better country, then we need to change ourselves. This is one among other sectors, but we need to address those issues and proffer solutions for humanity. Some might think this is a sermon or some emotional thoughts, but it is the fruit of witness. But if we keep ignoring those challenges, we become what Fergal Keane called the authors of guilty silence.

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