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Sat, Apr

For the bodies in charge of health in our country to plan strategically, they must have strategic thinkers. Strategic thinkers do not just progress up public sector rank and file and then become heads of departments. They are head hunted, assessed, groomed,..

Small Beginnings

Something momentous happened in health last month. Most of its importance was covered by the inevitable ordinariness of a group of foreign doctors doing outreach surgery in the name of a non governmental foundation. I was on the inside however, and saw perspectives that would not be immediately obvious.

I could not tell him that it was because he had been brought to the hospital too late. I could not tell him that if there had been someone in a local hospital to do the surgery that he needed a few days earlier, he could have left hospital the day after.

Invisible blessings

When I heard the voice on the phone I did not recognize him. I assumed he was one more person wishing me a happy new year, until he mentioned his name. I stopped everything I was doing at the time and just sat down, and savored the experience of hearing him speak. His name was singed into my memory. I had looked after him, on the same bed, every day, for a 3 month period.

He has been in Europe 20 years, but Nigeria still runs in his blood. Nothing about the Western world was going to diminish his Ibo soul. He was worried about what the West African environment would do, with its priorities, and lack of planning for health, education, posterity. He was worried about how...

File image - Independence Day celebration in Ghana, March 6th, 2018, Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. M. Bawumia (1st left), Nigeria’s President, M. Buhari (2nd left), Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo (M) with First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye.

On Independence Day, I was sitting in an Uber being driven by a (now) Dutch Nigerian Ibo man, stuck in Central London traffic. He was excited to meet someone he could freely call Charley, and be hailed Oga kpata kpata in response. In what ended up being a 3 hour ride, we talked about many things. He had a sense of humor that kept me laughing, and almost forgetting about my diminishing bank balance as the pound denominated tariff massacred my poor Cedis.

And as long as more private money goes into funerals, and mortuary fees than into education and health, we will not win the battle against death. If it is easier to get a loan for a funeral, than for education or for treating a patient on admission, then we really should not be surprised that death is so unstoppable. We have beautiful hearses, elaborate (dancing) pallbearers, custom made funeral cloths, beautifully printed funeral booklets, and 4-day funeral weekends. And we have no working ambulance system,...

Fighting Death

We were doing a morning round in a hospital far away from mine when I first saw it. Well, I heard it first, an electronic female voice warning me that it was coming. Then we almost run into it, but it stopped, a red light blinking. It waited for us to pass, bleeping green and red, and then once we passed I heard the quiet whir as it went its way down the beautifully lit hospital corridor.

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