By Dr. Goke Akinrogunde
A former schoolmate of mine way back at Government College Victoria Island, Lagos, Feyisetan Ijimakinwa, posted a moving narration (reproduced below) on the decadence of the Nigerian health system, in our old boys social media group page – “GOCOVIANS 678”.
The narration is about the case of newly delivered twins, born earlier in the week, who died on the same day they were born solely because they were unable to access incubator, first in the private hospital where they were delivered and later at the Oyo Sate Government-owned Adeoyo Specialist Hospital, Ibadan, a “foremost” public hospital in Oyo State, where they were referred.
“Earlier today I heard a story that left me shattered, and seething with anger.
“I heard of a woman who was delivered of twins in a private hospital in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. However, they were born premature. Because of their peculiar condition, they needed to be put in an incubator immediately after they were born. Sadly, this important and basic medical equipment was unavailable in this particular private hospital where the twins were delivered, and this necessitated their being referred to Adeoyo State Hospital, the number one state-owned medical facility in Ibadan.
“This medical emergency was to take an awful turn when the new mother and the twins, battling for life, arrived the sprawling Adeoyo State Hospital at Yemetu, Ibadan only to be told that the hospital too does not have an incubator. They were once again onwardly referred to the University College Hospital (UCH) also in Ibadan.
“What a relief it was when they got to UCH and it was confirmed that incubators were available but the joy that should have come never did as the two premature babies with undeveloped organs had been without vital supports for too long, and before they could be put into the incubators, they returned to where they came from. They died.
“Whilst this is another mishap that could have been avoided, a death that needed not have happened if only the simple and basic medical equipments like an incubator had been in place.
“Though inexcusable on all fronts, one may explain away the non availability at the private hospital but what reason can explain the number one state government owned public hospital not having an incubator? In 21st century Nigeria, it is unthinkable that a hospital, private or public, in a capital city, and not in one remote village, would be without an incubator. Haba! incubator fa!
“Though unconfirmed, a source said an incubator unit goes for as low as N50,000. Even, if it is not that ridiculously low priced, no argument is strong enough to explain why a hospital like Adeoyo would be without one. How many deaths like these could have been averted if only some people empowered to lead would do the right thing?
“I am gutted by this very sad news but like pop star, Wande Coal, asked, “shey na like this we go dey look? Now, more than ever, we need help. Or, don’t you think so?”
Yes we need help but heaven helps those who help themselves. Collectively we can say enough is enough!