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.

A look at almost every health index shows Nigeria at the bottom or very close to it. The one statistic that is most worrying and is often quoted as an indicator of our failed health system is the maternal mortality rate. Some sources quote it to be as high as 1200 deaths per 100,000 live births. The cause of death in these women have the same incidence rate as in developed countries. The difference is in how they are managed. A pregnant woman in Ireland develops hypertension while pregnant, no qualms. She delivers her baby safely and soon forgets she ever developed the condition. In Nigeria however, a pregnant woman develops hypertension and one may as well say their farewell to her as she would do well to survive the pregnancy. This situation is entirely unacceptable and shows how badly organized the system is. The irony is that nigeria has a large number of obstetricians and gynaecologists. One wonders what the heck they are doing! A society that lets its mothers die in the most important act they contribute to society is...

I'll comment more on the proceedings of the conference in the future. For now i'm back in the hospital thanks to the nurses who finally 'took back up their tools' and the doctors who shelved their planned strike. I took a history today in pidgin english - the local lingo- Was quite interesting trying to communicate words such as palpitation, dizziness, dyspnoea among others. I couldn't help but laugh sometimes as i did this. Was a fun challenge to do it!

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