...Redifining Journalism for Development

Random Cogitations with Professor MK Othman


Where is the humanity in our Medical Personnel?
This is one of the questions I cogitate for more than ten years. I have few personally experienced cases for my cogitation on this issue. Far back in 2003, I visited a hospital after receiving news that a wife to my neighbor with her family members were involved in a fatal accident. We visited the Accident and Emergency Unit of the hospital; the victims were placed outside as the unit was filled up beyond its designed capacity. The victims were visibly in deep pains due to injuries and some were in coma.
We were all distraught, helpless and confused, not knowing what to do. It was then I noticed that the medical personnel were unperturbed and casually taking their time to attend to the victims. As we were waiting, a medical doctor came, watched the victims on lying on the bare floor of the A and E unit and uttered loudly to our hearing “oh, these guys can’t make it”.

A typical Hospital in Nigeria

True, like the prophet of doom that he was, all the victims died one after the other within few days including the wife of my neighbor. Was the “doctor” supposed to mention that to the victims and us? Is it in line with the ethics of medical profession?
A second case, a lady admitted into the labour room had a CS and the baby that was successfully removed unfortunately died. When the lady came out of coma and demanded to see her baby, the medical personnel casually announced to her that the baby had died. Unfortunately, the lady couldn’t stomach such bad news and had a cardiac arrest and died.
Cases number three. A driver of a hospital ambulance was sent to bring a doctor on call around 8pm to attend to an emergency case. The driver met the doctor, told him about the emergency and was told to wait but the waiting continued endlessly, the hospital kept on phoning the driver and the doctor without response from the doctor. After four hours of endless calls, the driver, out of frustration, decided to blow the siren and horn of the ambulance thereby creating a scene, disturbing all the neighborhoods in the middle of the night. This ingenuity forced the doctor to come out.
Number four, and the most recent. A younger brother of my friend was admitted into hospital, after the preliminaries, the doctor pronounced that patient was to be operated upon and proposed to do it at 7 am the following day. The family paid off all the expenses. The following morning, the doctor did not show up, the endless waiting of the patient and the family continued from 7 am to 7 pm. My friend had to search for the telephone number of the doctor, sent SMS with a passionate appeal without response. At around 7:30pm, my friend’s younger brother passed on.
The last case but surely, not the least. Pathetically, it is a case involving another friend and colleague who cheated death by the whiskers. He was driving from Suleja to Minna in the month of December, 2013 and he ran into armed robbers unexpectedly and was stopped by a rain of bullets.

He came out of the car and lay down with his face on ground as instructed. He surrendered all he had, then felt moisture oozing out of his body. He touched and realized it was his blood. The bullet passed his car screen, entered into his body, passed in-between rips without touching sensitive organs and passed out of his body. This happened around 2pm.
After a deafening silence, he called for help from Minna, which came after a delay. He was carried in an ambulance to Hospitals in Suleja and Gwagwalada, which refused him admission on flimsy excuses but was finally admitted in the National Hospital, Abuja.

Meanwhile, he had been bleeding throughout and after the admission; the blood bank had blood reserve but was not allowed for usage until blood donation comes. One wonder what the reserved blood was meant for. All the medical personnel refused my ailing friend in an emergency condition to be transfused.
Luck shined on him when one of the personnel realized the patient was a lecturer from his Alma-Mata. It was almost 9pm when my friend was properly attended (transfused) with the assistance of them and cash deposit.
There are many cases similar to these ones, which make us to wonder whether the humanity in our medical personnel has eroded. Could it be the training or overworking or witnessing the deaths of several people on daily basis that removed the compassion and milk of human kindness from our medical personnel?
Certainly, not all the doctors and other paramedical personnel exhibit this bad attitude but the few with this habit are damaging the image of medical profession. Nigerian Medical Association and other relevant professional bodies must wake up to correct this bad attitude.
How adequately is Nigeria policed?
“Oga, we have chased the bad boys and the road is now safe” was an announcement that brought me to an instant attention signifying that my chauffeur driven car was stopped by police “wait and check”, not “check point” along Jere – Abuja Road. I raised my head, grinned and presented a pleasant salutation, a sort of “carry on good guys”.
Ill-equipped, poorly trained Police

As a regular traveler on this road, my instinct warned me of the vulnerability to the bad boys for using this road and somehow, I stopped following the road until I read in the news that the road is relatively safe. More than 200 policemen are manning the road.
They arrested 32 kidnappers (The Sun, 31/7/2017), arrested another group of 40 kidnappers and armed robbers terrorizing motorists on the Abuja-Kaduna road (Vanguard, 4/8/2017). Despite these tireless efforts made by police and other security personnel, the most dreadful news of the kidnappers’ evil machination and ghastly acts kept coming.
This brings the question of how adequately is Nigeria being policed to combat crimes? In 2012, there were estimated 370,000 police officers (Channels TV, 16/05/2012) and there was no recruitment from 2011 until 2016 when 10,000 personnel were recruited (Premium Times, 11/05/2012). The United Nations recommends a ratio of one policeman to 400 citizens. This means that Nigeria with estimated population of 186 million people requires 465,000 police personnel to meet the UN recommendation. The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, was recently quoted stating that Nigeria needs a yearly recruitment of 31,000 policemen for the next five years to meet the UN recommendation.
Nigeria deserves enough, well trained and adequately equipped Police

This is the crux of the matter. To combat petty and high level crimes, Nigeria has to increase its police force with up-to-the-minute weapons to match what the vandals carry.  One-minute cost of insecurity can be catastrophic  – equivalent of a year or so cost of security.
Baba Buhari should come to the aid of our police force. Security is foundation to the development of the society.

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