Sat, May

Image credit – mayo clinic

Here And There
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In 2019, if offices still use messengers to transfer messages, and websites for whole governmental arms, do not function when shall the epilepsy end, and the production begin?

Epilepsy is a devastating disease. In our part of the world it is more prevalent. It is a tragedy to see the most complex interconnected unit in the universe, pulverizing itself into uselessness. Neurons that are built to share information with each other, relay implosions of electric impulse that orchestrate brain malfunction.

The seizures we see, those frightening episodes with shaking body parts, tongue biting and head banging, are just brief snapshots of an inexorable journey of brain cell destruction.

When medicine steps in, it is just to stem the flow of a river whose actual course no one knows. A lot of research is ongoing, the knowledge is growing, but the interconnections are so intricate, the combinations so infinite that it is impossible to deal with this problem, with the same accuracy that we have been able to deal with infectious disease. It is like a complex maze. Step into it and get lost. What medicine tries do is to modulate the flow, by moderating the level of power supply, and closing off few known channels, in the hope a course change will cause a symptom change. 

Now technological advancement allows surgeons to enter the fray, because there is a small fraction of epilepsy which actually shows up on imaging modalities, and targeted surgery can be curative. This is the definition of surgical precision. Standing on the shoulders of scientific technology with sharpened knives aiming for the heart of the abnormal impulses.

Epilepsy is power with no control. Power contained in the neural corridors and pointed in the right directions, creates all the solutions that problems demand. Power undergirds personality, achieves purpose, embodies the reason for our earthly existence. And the body knows how to contain power. From the first month of pregnancy when the brain begins to develop, to the last heartbeat, the brain always takes a lion share of the body’s energy stores and blood supply, so it can contain power. Right from the brain in its sheltered bony fortress, to the tiniest nerve supplying the toe skin, the body is continually pumping resources to keep the electricity contained. 

I have studied the body for most of my life… and it continues to amaze me. The lengths to which the body goes to maximize brain function. And yet, knowing what that power can do, it should not surprise me. The power of thought, runs the world. The power of our intelligence underpins our existence.

I think of my country sometimes, when I think of the body. I think of the potential and how far we have come. I think of the measures we must put in place, to protect the pathways of power flow. In the body, a brain cell will never do the work of a kidney cell. But no one things about these cells, when marveling about the achievements of a human being. And no-one would think about the parliamentarian or the sanitary clerk, when the star of my country shines. 

If we cannot strengthen our institutions, we should not be surprised if leadership fails. Leaky corridors of power, leach vital leadership impulse into faulty effectors, and there is no progress. Our institutions need real input, so that power can be harnessed and progress actualised. If health care has no leadership, it is because the corridors where the power cables run, have been compromised. 

And one does not need to look too far. Just a stroll into the corridors of power suffices. In 2019, if offices still use messengers to transfer messages, and websites for whole governmental arms, do not function when shall the epilepsy end, and the production begin? The most recent data on the website for the Ghana Health Service in 2019 is two years old. Its most recent media links date back to 2014… in 2019. 

The human body uses 25% of its energy supply, just to keep power within bounds. If the country cannot maintain its corridors, power oversteps its bounds. 

And power to the people will mean nothing for the people.

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