Saturday, July 25, 2009


It's the weekend finally, looked earnestly to this weekend to take a break from getting up early and going to the hospital. This week started out slowly but ended up being quite eventful. It was filled with house officers being berated by their seniors left, right and center, rows breaking out between the team and a patient's mom and vehement abuse from a family who lost their mother.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back again

I'm back finally from the short hiatus. The lazy bug bit me as well as the network problem blog. Over the past week i've been able to attend a conference hosted in Abuja by the association of Nigerian physicians in the Americas. It was quite an interesting and enlightening conference. I met so many Nigerian doctors, specialists in their fields from all over the world. What delighted me the more was meeting several medical students like myself. Overall it was encouraging to find that a large number of people are interested in the well being of Nigerians and are indeed taking active steps to improve the standard of health care delivery. Some government officials attended the conference and as usual were full of talk about health sector reforms, it remains to be see if all the talks and plans will result in improvement of the health indices of Nigeria.

Friday, July 10, 2009

... and the strike continued

Drove into hospital today alongside some crazy drivers, Yes that's what most of the drivers in this city are, crazy. Dodging and weaving through traffic was the norm, cutting in and out of lanes a regular occurrence. Had to avoid several people so many times. I got to the hospital finally only to learn that the strike was still on . Today no nurses were in and those that came only did so to insist that all patients be discharged. I went to the seminar room to join the team in their morning presentations. The seminar room was small and jam packed with people. No air conditioning was available so it was sweltering. Finally the meeting came to an end with me drenched in my sweat.

Dr UE called me aside and advised me to go somewhere else for the duration of the strike as the hospital was slowly grinding to a halt. We proceeded on a ward round around 4 patients whom were all advised to make arrangements to transfer themselves to another hospital. I conducted a general examination on the Aids patient with really bad bed sores that began to ooze a greenish, foul smelling liquid. His tongue had a black discolouration on it and he had sores all over his mouth. In summary he was really ill! it never ceases to be a sorry sight every time i go in to see him. AIDS is now a real sight to me as evidenced by this patient and no longer a thing in the books. Rounds didn't last long and i soon left for home. Now to look for somewhere else to continue my hospital attachment

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Today was a short day, After my experience yesterday i didn't go in to hospital till 9. Result was i arrived late for an emergency consultant ward round. The consultants weren't scheduled to conduct a ward round today however they had to come in as the news of a nurses strike broke. The nurses went on strike at midnight bringing most activities in the hospital to a halt. Heard a story from someone that a woman was in the height of labour in a delivery suite being urged on by a midwife to push. At the stroke of 12 she left to wash her hands and commence the strike, abandoning the groaning woman in labour. Said she: ' I told you to push hard for a reason before 12 now it's past 12 i'm gone on a strike'. Doctors had to be drafted in to do the midwife's job. Same was the case on the wards as the doctors had to take over the duties of the nurses. The team discharged who they could. For those they couldn't, they encouraged the patients' relatives to be involved in the nursing care of their patients. Intra venous drugs were discouraged and no new patients were taken in.

With the nurses strike most of the activities of the hospital were paralysed. The team now had time to critic my history and give me tips on how to improve my technique of interviewing patients. Downside is that patients care suffered and the doctors had to stay in till later than usual. With nothing else to do i left for home today earlier than i'd done before.

Hopefully the strike ends soon and normality returns. However speaking to several doctors didn't reveal a huge amount of optimism. They indicated that things had been deteriorating for a while and that indications were that change is far away from the horizon. I feel that it is rather unfortunate that a government would treat its front line health care workers with such disregard and impunity that they have to resort to strikes to gain their attention and force them to effect change. It's bad enough the situation that they have to work in, but with the relatively meagre pay and unfulfilled promises of raises and allowances a poor situation is made worse. Conversely the leaders get paid all their salaries and allowances well before they are due when the only thing they do really is sit and talk. If they talked about how to affect peoples lives positively maybe they'd deserve their fat pay checks, however they talk about laws banning homosexuality, indecent dressing and certain television programs. Seriously! in a country where many people live on less than a dollar a day surely there are more important and pressing matters to address. I don't support any of the aforementioned vices but a government of many poor people should seek to improve their well being before legislating on how they live. That's my 2 cents!

Tuesday and wednesday

Tuesday the 7th came around and i dragged myself out of bed to get ready for my first hospital consultant ward round at 8 am. I got there on time, not the case for the other members of the team who were vital to the ward round. We waited for everyone to arrive and finally commenced at 9.30 am. Dr UE introduced me to the team, we then proceeded to our first patient.

Patient A was a schizophrenic who had a myriad of problems that i couldn't quite grasp. The consultant spoke to his mom for a few minutes and ignored them for the rest of the time we were there as he quizzed the residents and house officers about the case. The patient lay asleep on the bed, noticeable on his ankles were bruises from being tied down the last time he was in a hospital. I didn't know that such crude methods were still being used to restrain psychiatric patients. We moved on from patient A to Patient W. Patient W is a patient with HIV that has progressed to AIDS. His CD 4 count was 5! (normal range is 500-1600). He looked really sick and cachexic (thin and emaciated) . Worse still he had a bed sore from lying in bed all day. Dr UE called me around to take a look at the sore. Suffice it to say that it was one of the more disturnbing things i'd ever seen and i've seen quite a number of disturbing things. I am beginning to see that HIV is indeed endemic in Africa.

Monday, July 6, 2009

First day of elective

Finally monday the 6th of july has come around. This day marked the beginning of my 5 week elective in the National hospital Abuja. I woke up brimming with excitement and expectation with a slight dose of uncertainty as to what to expect. I left home with enough time to get to the hospital for 8.30 am. Took a taxi and arrived there within 20 minutes of leaving my home, the hospital turned out to be closer than i expected. I found my way- with the help of a couple of people- to the office of the director of clinical services., where i was expected to report. Emmanuel welcomed me into the office with a cursory greeting. He gave me a letter to pass on to the secretary of clinical medicine, the department to which i had been requested to be attached.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Back Home

Yay! I finally made it back home to my beloved city of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, the heart of Africa. Well so the sign said that welcomed me to the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport Abuja. Dr Azikiwe is one of the most distinguished Nigerians to grace the earth, that's a story for another day. Now back on point i'm back home yay! oops said that already.