Saturday, 30 August 2014

one hundred and thirty eight days after

138 days after, and our girls are still missing.
138 days after and their places at the table during meals are still empty.
138 days after and their mothers are still expectant.
138 days after and we still don't have our desire?

What is our desire?
To have these girls returned to their parents.
To ask that they be returned healthy seems like a wishful thinking!
How can they be returned healthy after the gruesome experience of being abducted and enslaved from their homes and turned into refugees in a country that claims to be at peace?
How can they return healthy after spending months in the custody of such barbarians?

The whole world has moved forward, the international media has moved on to juicer stories, the initial frenzy and concern shown by the entertainment world has passed away, and majority of Nigerians have, as usual, accepted this fate and moved on!

The question is : if it was your sister, would you move on and forget about her? If it were your daughter, would you accept it as fate and go on with life?
I am sure you wouldn't! And so you shouldn't!
You shouldn't forget these girls, we shouldn't. 

The easiest thing you can do is pray sincerely for them; you can do more by supporting those that have decided to keep the campaign alive!
These are the least we can do, but I believe that 1 in every 10 Nigerian can do more. Will you?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Enugu chicken impeachment!

Foodstuffs seem to have found their way back to our polity and they seem to be gaining grounds in influencing the decisions of the Nigerian electorates and lawmakers alike.
It is believed that like the first Adam, one of our leaders fell by an apple, and it seems now that another leader is giving way because of his love for chickens!

The Deputy governor of Enugu state, Mr Onyebuchi was yesterday impeached by the state house of assembly on account of 'gross misconduct '.

One would assume that like most impeached leaders, he would have a long list of offenses reeled out against him, but in his case, he had just two offenses; one of which was the running of a poultry in his official residence.
According to his accusers, the stench from the poultry is a disgrace to the state and cannot be condoned.

Now it seems that like on the animal farm, in Enugu state, all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others. In the Governor's official residence, the Agricultural unit of the governor's house not only manages a poultry, but also has a piggery, and a ranch for rearing cattle. Some have even said that ostriches are being reared too!
So I wonder if the fowls in the governors house are special breeds that do not have the smell that chickens are known for; or that the pigs in the pens are sanitary pigs.

Anyway, we all know that most leaders that face impeachment threats in the history of our democracy were once faithfuls of the powers that be before they got penned in their bad books, and became candidates for witch hunting.
Most of these embattled leaders usually had dirt on their garments and carcasses in their cupboards, so they were really liable for impeachment. 

Mr Onyebuchi is however one of the minority whose wardrobe was spick and span. The only offense they could unearth was poultry farming and 'insubordination'.
Now that's an epic offense! How dare he refuse to represent the governor in an event?

It's good news to my ears that a public office holder in the present day Nigeria couldn't be impeached on corruption charges! I want to believe that his books are clean and no allegations in terms of fund misappropriation could be pinned on him, but a part of me thinks no corruption charges were mentioned because doing so would have exposed not just the deputy but his Boss and cohorts too.

As we stay tuned and watch this drama unfold, I hope intending office holders are watching with rapt attention and learning lessons from the present and past leaders.
One of the take home lessons from this episode will be: if you ever want to rear a bird, ostriches should be first on your list of options. They stink less!

Monday, 25 August 2014

55 days on nothingness!

At the beginning of the recently-suspended 55 days-old strike by the NMA, I wrote about the relief an average Nigerian doctor feels at the thought of a strike action. I also wrote about the seeming inefficacy of strikes in Nigeria and the fact that the strife between NMA and JOHESU was one that needed to be settled at a round table. The public need not suffer over a family feud, the shrubs need not lose their roots because of a power tussle between two or three elephants.

With the suspension of the strike, one would assume that the NMA has been given its demand. Alas, we haven't. According to the NMA president, the strike was suspended because of the National emergency and talks would continue with the government on the demands that instigated the downing of tools in the first place.
55 days and nothing to show for it,  you would say; but that's not true, at least the National health bill has been passed into law: but we all know that being passed into law isn't the same as implementation. Experience has made that clear.

 The NMA is faced with one challenge they didn't start with though- the suspended residency programme. If the FG claims they want to overhaul the whole programme, then I suppose that we still have 16000 doctors unemployed as at today.
If however, this circular is reversed and the suspension is annulled, then the government will prove again that it is not a government of its words and the suspension was only an attempt to subdue the strongest arm of the NMA . After all, the suspension of the programme was in the best interest of the nation abi?

Dear colleagues, in the eyes of the masses, we are selfish and have lost our respect, in the eyes of our immediate family members we are ' poor things ', in the eyes of some other health workers, we are pathetic losers; different people have tagged and qualified us with unbefitting words.
However, let it be clear to all that the Nigerian doctor has been used and abused, bartered and insulted but will yet serve this country as best as he can, despite the inadequacies of the health sector.

A few weeks from now, every other party will forget this happened, apart from the real victims: the families that lost loved ones and the doctors who have been termed evil.
Corridor consultations will begin again, but only the unwise will continue this trend.

In the nearest future, let us hope that the NMA or ARD will not have to down their tools again. Let us hope that the health sector will thrive and prosper and let us hope that the rivalry in this sector will not lead to anarchy and a complete topple of the already crumbling sector.

God bless Nigeria.

Friday, 22 August 2014

What next after Ebola?

Earlier this week, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu announced the discharge and release of 4 survivors of the Ebola Virus disease; Nancy Writebol and Dr Kent Brantley, the American missionaries who contracted the disease in the line of humanitarian services were also given a free slate and allowed to go home to their families after several weeks of isolation.

Several people have survived the disease, not just in this recent outbreak, but even from the times when the disease wasn't christened. Dr Thomas Cairns, also a missionary doctor in Guinea in 1972 got infected with an unknown illness and was miraculously cured. 4 years later, when there was an outbreak of a similar disease in the region, his blood was tested and was found to have several loads of antibodies against the Ebola virus.

Apart from being survivors of Ebola, all these people have different stories. Most of them are health workers, but not all of them got the quality of care that Dr Kent and Mrs Writebol got. Not all of them got zMAPP, not all of them got symptomatic management.
However, all of these identified victims ascribed their healing to God. Dr Kent said his recovery was proof that he served a God that answers prayers.
The Nigerian survivors have been kept anonymous, but I am sure that their testimonies might not be different.

With the increasing number of Ebola survivors, the Nigerian masses have to know some things about the disease, and here are some of it:

A person with Ebola virus is only infectious when he has symptoms. Once the person has been declared cured ( this is done after two separate intensive blood tests have come out as negative), the person is not capable of transmitting the disease.
However, the virus has been found in the breastmilk, semen and vaginal fluid of some survivors for about 7 weeks after being cured.
So survivors are advised to avoid sex or use condoms for at least 3 months after discharge.
Mothers have also been advised to wean their babies off breastmilk during this period.

Dear Nigerians, I know our culture is big on stigmatization ( that explains why the names of the survivors have been withheld from the public), but please avoid it. Let's not discriminate against Ebola survivors.
We do not know the long term complications of the disease, and these folks need our support to help them get back to life.
If you know any survivor, hug them freely, shake them, don't run away.
Princess Diana freely hugged people living with AIDS and this helped spread the war against discrimination ; let our celebrities do the same.

And even as we pray to continually win this war against Ebola, remember to make your health a priority. Personal hygiene is cheap and is in vogue now.
Even survivors can become re-infected. Science has not proven whether the antibodies they have developed against the virus are lifelong or transient.
So, both survivors and non-infected people should still take their health seriously.

I pray that soon, and very soon, the WHO will declare Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the whole world free of this present Epidemic; and I hope that the Nigerian government and Nigerians will pay more attention to Research. Who knows, maybe Bitter kola ( or salt water) indeed is the cure to this deadly virus?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Another Fallen Compatriot

It's common knowledge that you don't speak ill of the dead, but there are few exceptions .
Every time I think of Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian who lost his sister to Ebola and conveyed the same disease across borders unto our shores, all I want to do is say something hateful/ hurting about him ;even our President couldn't resist the urge not to.

A lot of people have postulated theories about why he came into Nigeria despite his contact with his deceased sister, and I don't really give a hoot about what his reason(s) were; all I know is that he has poured sand into our little garri ( which we are managing as a nation), he has added fuel into an already blazing inferno.
More people have died from a disease that could have been avoided if Patrick Sawyer hadn't stepped foot in Nigeria.

A few weeks ago, I dedicated a post to Dr Sheik Umar Khan who gave up his life while fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone.
And today, I am doing the same for our very own Dr Ameyo Stella Adadevoh who lost her life in the course of duty.
She didn't give up her life, she lost it.
Dr Sheik had a heads up before he got involved, she however didn't. She was dutifully doing her job and lost her livelihood and life in the process.

Thanks to Patrick Sawyer, we've lost another specialist. Nigeria doesn't need a needless loss of consultants, not now, not ever.
We need more specialists than we can imagine.
And to see them lose their lives needlessly is appalling.

Like most fallen Nigerian heroes, I hope Dr Ameyo's death won't be futile. I hope our health sector will become a system worth dying for, I hope medical practice in Nigeria will one day be worth the sacrifices we have made and still make.
GEJ has suspended residency programme, a lot of young doctors that planned to start their residency in Nigeria are already registering for international exams, and now we have lost one of the few endocrinologists in the country.

If the dead had ears, I am sure Patrick Sawyer's would be filled with curses; but it's too late to cry over this spilled stale milk.
It has been confirmed that another Liberian got into Nigeria and is being treated for Ebola! And you wonder why the Liberian ports and Nigerian ports still allow this immigration.
Porous borders I know, let the government step up their game.

We have too much on our plates to handle right now: the absence of security, the chaos in the health sector, Ebola epidemic, lack of basic amenities, plummeting educational sector, and now let's add porous and almost non-existing borders!
Let's also not forget that our Chibok sisters are still missing ( I find it hard to believe that they are still missing).

Which way forward?
Responsible followership.
What does that mean?
It means getting involved. 2015 is here, and they will roll out their drums and campaigns. Vote wisely, use your head not your heart. Leave out sentiments ( tribal, religious, gender, etc) and make an informed decision.

Don't stop there, educate the unlearned. Break down the big English words and let them know what is at stake. Help them make informed decisions too.
Then hold the elected leaders responsible.
Ask questions. They are answerable to us. Enough with 'siddon look' approach . Let's do away with being reac
tive followers, it's time to be proactive.
Let's organise town hall meetings, quarterly appraisals etc

It's time to save our country for our future's sake. It's begins, continues and ends with us, the Nigerian People. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Presidency vs Residency

I really don't know where to start today.
I am trying to be reasonable and unbiased about the present challenge in the health sector.
I am using all within me to curb the quanta of negative energy aroused whenever I give a thought to GEJ and his actions!

Imagine how hard I tried not to literarily implode with anger when I learnt that the President had suspended Residency training programme in Nigeria; thereby sacking more than 16,000 doctors nationwide.
I thought it was a sick joke, one not worth my reaction. But apparently it isnt.

The Federal government has taken the cowardly path to resolve the present crisis and I suppose that they think we will follow suit: like helpless professionals back down without a fight. I assume that somewhere in their thinking, they'll expect resident doctors to come with their tails between their legs and beg for an appointment.
If medical school taught me nothing, there's one attribute which was well developed in me, and that's tenacity.
And I know that every Nigerian Resident doctor has more than an ounce of this atttibute in them.
We will not cower like cowards. We will not back down. When did it become a crime to fight for what's ours? When did it become wrong to let your employer know your grievances?

You however can't blame the president or the minister or the permanent secretary that signed the document. They do not employ the services of the health sector in Nigeria. At least, not personally.
They do not need the resident doctors, neither will their children need specialists to attend to them in the future. 
After all, they'll remain in government and if not, there will always be looted money available for them to fly out of the country for the slightest ailment.

What will happen in Nigeria?
More doctors will leave the country. More specialists - in- training will get trained outside the shores of Nigeria; and those that love Nigeria enough, will come back and make the masses pay through their noses for their foreign expertise.
GEJ has opened the floodgates for a brain drain and shown just how much he cares about the health sector.

A doctor is first a human, a Nigerian, a person with needs like every other Nigerian before he became a doctor. A lot of people brandish the Hippocratic Oath like a weapon whenever a strike action is on; they "forget" the other part of the same oath that says a doctor should get his due.

I smell a storm brewing. I know that the Nigerian masses will survive this storm like we always do, but not without casualties.

In the words of Jesus, a prophet is without honour in his town; the Federal government, the Nigerian People and some other health professionals have proved times and times again that they do not appreciate Nigerian trained Doctors, and I think it's high time we looked for greener pastures where our services are needed and appreciated.

Let the Exodus begin.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Cover Faux!

I woke this morning to receive the news that Robin Williams was dead; cause of death: suspected suicide. I would have struggled to remember his name, but not his face. Jumanji still comes to mind once in a while, with all its mysteries. I recently saw him in "One night in the Museum", and more recently in "The Big Wedding" and his grin made me grin more.

I wasn't particularly surprised at the news, not because I knew he battled with depression, alcohol and drug addiction; but because I understand that there's more to a book than its cover. You might not be able to imagine the struggles of the fellow next to you until he opens up and allows you read between the lines of his story. 

The Bible says a merry heart does good like medicine, yet I doubt this man had a good dose of his own medicine even though he dispensed merriment ( even his expressions made me smile).

It seems the second part of this scripture describes his fate better- a broken heart dries up the bones.

A lot of people would give anything to attain his height! I mean, he was an Oscar-award nominee severally and a winner once. He basked in fame and glam from time to time and lived the Hollywood dream at one point of his career or the other.
Why would a person commit suicide after such feat?

Simple answer:
In the words of Jesus "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of that which he possesseth".
The preacher als
o laments ' vanity, futile! All is meaningless'.

If these words weren't true, I doubt we would have so many celebs taking their lives. If the fame and glam and paparazzi and fun were all that mattered, then we won't have such a large diary of celeb suicides.
The relationships we form, the lives we influence , the purpose we pursue, these are the more important things.

I know a typical Nigerian always hopes for a brighter day and loves his/her life too much to contemplate ending it, but before it even gets to that point of giving up, take a chill pill from time to time and re-evaluate your goals, achievements and relationships; put every straying strand back in place. 
Suicide doesn't just happen, it must have evolved from a tiny voice, a simple thought which wasn't put in its rightful place but was allowed to go on and on till it evolved into an action.
Call a loved one, listen to their plight, tell them how much you love or miss them. Don't be stingy with words of affirmation. 

Robin Williams has joined the archives of celebrity suicide, he has left his family, friends and fans to deal with whatever ghosts he was struggling with and has taught us once again to pay attention to the things that matter and not be carried away by the vanities of this world.
May his Family, friends and fans be comforted and may we who remain live a life worthy of a Kudos when the giver of life calls us to him.

Phone a friend Today, it's more than a MTN WWTBAM lifeline, it can save a life too!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The 'home-training' missle!!!

As my wet and very long day slowly wound to an end yesterday, I prayed to God beneath my breath. I was exhausted and almost overwhelmed. I was battling with the news that Nigeria had already recorded a mortality from Ebola and Morbidity had increased to 7; I reminded myself of scriptural truths because that was the only source of sense I could harness at that moment.

I had also gotten more than I prepared for at a meeting and was still wondering how I was going to pull the project through. I really didn't want to stress myself ( but what's worth doing at all is worth doing well, so I mentally braced up for the task ahead).

All these, plus the trickling rain, muddy roads, dripping umbrella and dirty legs contributed to my near-sore mood; and all I wanted was to get home and raise my legs on a mount of pillows!
I didn't plan to get into a generational tussle at all. Unfortunately, that's where I landed!

I didn't notice this man until he flung my bag strap at me as I boarded the 'keke Napep'. He was already inside and refused to make considerable space for any other passenger.
Politely I said 'sorry sir' and retrieved the wandering bag strap to my laps. A few minutes passed and another lady joined us in the tricycle.
I thought to myself ' this is trouble'.

You see, this lady was a plus-sized lady. Maybe a size 16, and I guessed that the man would not adjust to accommodate her. I guessed right, he didn't. The lady ( in her mid-twenties) politely asked him to move. He declined and she couldn't understand why. The exchange of opinions started and I tried to tell the lady to just sit and let this disgruntled man carry his issues with him.

I wasn't going to get into the banter, until he launched the infamous weapon. Out of nowhere, this man used the 'home-training' missle and I got mad!
"If you had home training, ........"
I know you have had this weapon launched at you too in the past.

Ahn Ahn! What's with Nigerian adults sef?
There we were, cramped in the tricycle with a 60-something year old man, who for reasons best known to him, decided to inconvenience other passengers for his own comfort; and he dared say we lacked home training because we voiced our thoughts and told him he was wrong!
I couldn't keep quiet!

As I voiced out my thoughts about his unacceptable behaviour and wrong ideology, everyone in the vehicle kept quiet. Even the man wasn't talking again.
How can you be wrong and expect to go scot-free because you are an 'elder' of the land?

Do you think that every young person will keep quiet and respect your wrong acts because of the grey hair( he didn't even have grey hair o)?
Does it mean that as African youths, we are expected to keep quiet and ignore the wrong actions of our elders because they have been here before us?
Definitely not!

I respect our culture and would never disrespect anyone, but let the elders also behave their ages!
 Let them respect the laws of the land and the laws of humanity.
Let them stop bullying the younger ones into silence with their grey hair and stares.

As I alighted at my destination, I didn't feel as exhausted as I had been when I boarded. In fact, I was glad that I had politely and cautiously educated an older citizen who was wrong and needed to know so.

Even Elihu in the bible must have felt like I did yesterday when he wrote :
“I’m a young man,
and you are all old and experienced.
That’s why I kept quiet
and held back from joining the discussion.
I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell.
The longer you live, the wiser you become.’
But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person,
the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise hum
an insight possible".


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Are your wears really shrinking?

As I got ready for work this morning, I sadly realised that my clothes were shrinking ; at least that's how I chose to see it. God forbid that I admit that I was adding weight, even though the scales tell me so. 
Abi, how do you explain changing at least twice while dressing up on more than one occasion in a week? 
It has to be the clothes and not me!

After indulging myself in this deluded belief, I gave myself a kick and accepted the fact that I have indeed added extra kilos. And even though I could cook up all sorts of justification ( like I've had the clothes for more than 3 years bla bla bla), the reality is that it's me gaining weight and not my clothes shrinking. 

How often have I tried to argue my responsibilities away, trying to shift the blame on someone else, something else or some past experiences.

I'm not alone am I? I am not the only one in this world that tries to shift blames and responsibilities right?
I mean, think deep, you must have done it once or twice before!  
You probably are doing it now too!

How often do we blame GEJ for enhancing corruption while we turn a blind eye to the little foxes in our own vineyard?
Or blame the other driver for suddenly applying the breaks while you were distracted by a call? Or blame the traffic congestion while you didn't leave home early enough.

Take the two major political parties in the country for instance! It seems to me that they both love the media and banter of words! PDP blames APC for Boko Haram insurgency, APC blames PDP for militarising Ekiti state, hence their loss in the gubernatorial elections, bla bla bla and the cycle continues! 
( Stay tuned for more of their theatrics after this weekend's guber in Osun state.) 

 NMA blames JOHESU, State Government blames Federal government, Boss blames employee, dog blames cat, eyes blame legs and the blame game goes on!

Reality beckons! Take responsibility for what your actions/ inactions have caused and make amends! 

I am hitting the gym soon *yimu*, I love my clothes and I am not ready to change my wardrobe yet (as if my meagre corper allowance would permit such), so a healthy weight loss regimen shall be formulated *winks* to keep the excess carbs away! 

Whatever amends you have to make, take full responsibility and make those amends! I hope that sometime in the future, we would have a ruling party and opposition that operate above the spinal level of blame-sharing and function in the cerebral level of being responsible! 

Stay healthy guys! 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Breast is best!!!

Gone are the days when the first gift you unwrap in a baby shower is a set of milk bottles or a sterilising unit!
I remember how sacred these sterilising units seemed to be then to nursing mums!
It was fashionable to have several shapes and sizes of cute bottles and teethers and 2-tiered sterilising units as part of your baby paraphernalia.
Back then, breastfeeding was seen as old-fashioned and primitive!
Well, that was then!

Nowadays, breastfeeding is fashionable! In fact, not breastfeeding is almost an anomaly! There's so much swag associated with breast feeding these days: breastfeeding booths in shopping malls, the cute nursing aprons that mums use to get some privacy in the public, the public show of intimacy and affection - the list is ever evolving.
In fact, it won't be an heresy to say that, to the public, if you are a nursing mother and are not breastfeeding, you are wrong!
And this is a welcome development! This is one trend that I am glad we have re-embraced!

The World is celebrating ' World Breastfeeding Week' between the 1st and 7th of August, and I am certain that the media will be bombarded with several programmes to celebrate this week.

The benefits of breastfeeding are endless!
It enhances mother and child bonding, it increases the child's immunity, provides just what the child needs in the right proportions,reduces the incidence of some allergic disorders, it is environment-friendly, encourages adequate child spacing, reduces after-delivery complications in the mother, reduces chances of Pre-menopausal breast cancer, and the most popular one, it is cheap! In fact, it doesn't cost the family an extra kobo!
So why not breast milk?

Some women face some form of difficulty initially and they complain that they aren't lactating or the process is too stressful.

Here are a few tips to help such challenges:
Proper positioning of your infant is important. Your baby should suckle on the areola ( the darker portion around the nipple) and not on the nipple. This enhances secretion and flow of more milk.

Let your child feed adequately from one breast before you change to the other. This is important because the constituents of breastmilk differ in their proportions as suckling begins. For instance, fore milk ( the initial milk at the beginning of each meal) contains more water than fat than the hind milk. So ensure that your child has enough quantity from one breast before your alternate.

Sore nipples occur the first few days, but this usually resolves with continued breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is supposed to be a fun experience. If pain persists, seek a professional opinion.

Some diet like pap, yoghurt, apricot, almonds and tea have been found to be lactogenic i.e. they enhance milk secretion.

I could go on and on and on about breastfeeding, but ask any mother ( and some fathers too) and they'll tell you more!

So, here's the deal, help increase awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding and encourage the next shy mother you meet who would rather have her child cry his/her butt off than feed in public! Help her realise that breastfeeding is one of the coolest privileges she has!

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Bitter (Kola) truth!

Since the advent of BBM and other types of such applications, the act of broadcasting messages has become contagious. 
But from experience, I have learnt to verify such messages before sending it on its trail or disregarding it.

So yesterday, when I got the broadcast about bitter kola being an internationally proven cure for Ebola,  my first instinct was to ignore it.
But how do you ignore a message that keeps showing up on all information platform that you visit?

My aim today is to tell you all and reiterate what we have heard severally in this past week:  as at today, EBOLA HAS NO CURE OR VACCINE! 

Bitter Kola, scientifically called Garcinia Kola has not been proven to cure Ebola virus.  
I mean, think of it! If Bitter kola cures Ebola virus, then how come so many people in Sierra Leone , Liberia and Guinea have died from the disease? Or do you think Nigeria has a monopoly of bitter kola? 
Of course not. 
Bitter Kola grows in the rainforest of the  tropics, and that's not just Nigeria. 

About 15 years ago, Prof Maurice Iwu ( then Dr Maurice Iwu, same Maurice Iwu of INEC), announced to the world that Bitter kola has been noted to stop the multiplication of the Ebola virus in test tubes. And that's it. 
It has not even been tested on animals, let alone humans.

Before a drug or a substance is termed 'curative', it goes through several screening processes.
The fact that it worked 15 years ago in a test tube doesn't mean it has been accepted as a cure.
What it means however, is that there is hope that a cure is possible.

However, in the mean time, stay safe and stay healthy.