Sunday, 18 August 2013

Tope Aigba : Are We Our Brothers' Keeper?

Some months ago, we woke up to the news of losing one of our prominent daughters Ewa, a make-up artist, during child birth.

Last week, Iyke @judgeiyke and Opeyemi @flofash's conversations on twitter brought it up again. It was in the course of following their conversation that I knew that Nigeria ranked 2nd in the global index of maternal deaths.

One begins to wonder why this should be so in a country that is so rich and blessed!

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), maternal death is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.

From the definition given by the WHO, one could easily understand that maternal mortality and its causes are man-made except for rare occasions. There is no mystery about why so many women are dying while giving birth. They are dying because they have no access or limited access to health care, or because the quality of health care provided or available is poor.

This now brings to mind the issue of accountability and transparency of the allocated funds to the ministry of health and not only that but the services rendered by the work force of the ministry. Apart from the funds allocated, what are the duties of the various departments that exist in the ministry?

The Ministry has several departments specializing in different aspects of health care of which one of them is The Family Health department which is concerned with creating awareness on Reproductive, Maternal Neonatal and Child Health, ensuring sound nutrition, including infant and young child feeding, and care of the elderly and adolescents. In the context of their specialization, how has this department fared? While some might be putting in their best, the majority are doing nothing to advance this course.

The decadence in the nation has eaten so deep into every facet of the economy and the work force that nothing and no government institution is functional any more.
I visited a government hospital once to see a specialist and the nurse attached to that specialist was marketing the man’s private hospital to me. When I saw the specialist, he was so offhand and snappy apart from the fact that he came to work very late @ 1pm. Of course, I had to go see him in his private hospital.
That those in authority are corrupt is an established fact but the corruption of the work force i.e.. those in federal and civil service is astronomical.
When drugs and other resources made available for use in the government hospitals and health centres disappear and re appears in some private hospitals, how will there be effective or adequate health care treatment?
The syndrome of ‘’they are eating their own, make I chop my own too” has so filled everyone that service to humanity and diligence on the job is a strange phenomenon.
Our leaders are bad but the followers are worse.
We need to wake up and shed off every form of vice and greed inherent in us and learn to be our brothers' keeper once again. Then and only then can we move forward as a people.

God Bless Nigeria and Her Children.

I'm on twitter as @Topsyken


  1. It is nice of you to bring this up. It is alarming the way they kill us and yet pay substantially for it. We pay for our deaths or the death of our mothers, wife and sisters. Quite painful that it all resulted from human errors. We really need to do something.

    1. Tomisin, you can say that again. Thanks. I believe people should be encouraged to write more along this line of thought and truth

  2. God bless you mama. We should share this across all our platforms. More brace ma'am

  3. Gabriel Mayowa-Kolade18 August 2013 at 22:46

    Insightful piece ma, thanks for putting this together. Death traps in the name of hospitals. These are supposed to be the custodians of good health.

  4. God bless you!Recently a banker friend of mine narrated to me with tears filled eyed how the wife was in labour for 5 hour because the unblical cord was rapped around his son's neck who weighed 4kg,they terminated the child because they almost lost the mother because no competent doctor to perform a C-section,how gross incompentent...we must come together and act,God help us all(amen)

  5. very sad. Let us all keep praying for our country and the leaders.

  6. Its saddening that a country so blessed this way will be ranked second in maternal mortality.
    I was discussing with a Doc friend who told me that Ghana gives all necessary vaccinations whilst here in Naija it is almost impossible except you have to go and get it yourself. Took my son to govt hospital and I was told to go outside the hospital to buy vaccine that my Doc friend said should be given freely in normal clime!
    Lost a sister inlaw to carelessness of medical practitional .
    I just hope we will wake up from this chop make I chop mentality killing this land.

    Thank ma'am for a timely writeup.

    1. Fitting that this should be brought to the frontburner. Healthcare is a trumpeted term that has come to mean very serious negativity. And it keeps thriving because some personnel know that patronage is unstoppable, even though it's anchored on ignorance and helplessness.

      If someone's going to rob me of tens of thousand for a sleight of hand, the easiest expectation is at least that it be done well!

      Many of us have lost loved ones. Many will still lose others tomorrow. The unfortunate part is no one who should, cares.

      Well done ma'am. Unfortunate situation that we have to send kudos for such a regrettable situation!