The health of nations: Why Nigerian hospital services has become a weapon of mass destruction
We are currently experiencing a general process of disintegration through the collapse of our health services; poverty of medical health facilities, absence of skilled personnel but most of all a pervasive contempt of responsibility and accountability of the medical staffs.
Hospitals have a mission In most parts of the world to inspire hope by providing the adequate health care to every patient through an integrated clinical practice. It inspires hope through the expression of compassion by treating patients with sensitivity and empathy and most of all by its adherence to ethics and professional responsibility, in brief they heal the sick and give support to the physically afflicted . Nevertheless the prevailing experience in Nigerian Hospitals is a depressing Gloom and doom and tragic denial of its mission.
Thus, Ijeoma was taken to the Ante natal ward of Ogbolodo general hospital in Lagos, Nigeria , for the delivery of her second child , she had not the simplest idea of the degree of torment, the sulphurous agony and pains she was to endure . And above all she could not have anticipated her near death experience and the subsequent death of her new born due flagrant negligence by the medicals staffs.
On that faithful day in the early hours of the 16th of June 2012 as Ijeoma ajufo , 34 years old, a mother of a baby –boy, arrived by taxi to the Ogbolodo hospital in Iketu Lagos she was filled with hope and prospects of having a baby- girl to form a perfect and balanced family. As she had fully attended the mandatory ante natal program and carried out several medical check-ups, record shows that she had no reason to be nervous or distressed. In fact Anslem Okafor,38 , ijoma’s husband had gone to work as usual as he envisaged to return in the evening with the hope of meeting the new born in the hands of his wife. He had prepared the home and bought several article to make ease the comfort of the new arrival. However these hopes and dreams were dashed to the rocks as ijeoma labored on end and the baby was never to be delivered.
The situation had gone critical after more than 8 hours of laboring, ijeoma was getting exhausted and weak yet none of the medical staff and the supposed doctor on duty was apt enough to come up with a substantial solution ; its now almost 20 hours of labor in the next few hours ijeoma could pass away cause she was bleeding too and no woman can bear laboring for so long a time, yet no significant decision was being taken.
“The midwives and the nurses were totally negligent or had no clue as to what they should do they left me laboring in pain and kept introducing some kind of hot concoction into my womb”
“That continued on end until the baby was brutally flushed out of the Amniotic fluid and then she died instantly”
“And almost immediately I fell unconscious” ijeoma explained
But the most salient question that any lay man would ask is why is it that a cesarean section was not immediately applied ?
“In a situation like this a cesarean section is generally admitted” says Anslem ijeoma’s husband who returned expecting to meet the new born but was handed over a dead child …..”why they did not apply cesarean section is what I have found too deep to understand am disgusted with this country.. this is a massive injustice …there is no respect for human life ” he added in his dispirited grief.
No one can clearly fathom out what trespassed during the delivery process and why the cesarean section was not applied to save life. So far however what has become apparent is that the only available staff were very much of a substandard stuff and had neither the aptitude or the required skills of birth attendance staffs. The baby delivered died instantly due to lack of competence and maybe due to inadequate facilities however the medical staffs claim the doctors were on strike and therefore had not enough doctors to attend to every patience.
“This is a clear case of negligence and it is actionable my child was killed due to negligence and my wife almost died if the labor had persisted” …. “The most painful thing about it all is that my daughter’s death is preventable and avoidable with just a bit of goodwill” said Anslem
Incidences like this happen on scale that is unimaginable in Nigeria health institutions ijeoma like many other that hit the headlines including Daramola Bolanle,who died in Alimosho general hospita are part of the grim statistics of our health services
Nigerian hospitals all across the states are replete with untold stories of tragic incidents of neglect and willful dereliction of responsibility. A grim statistics of deaths that are in most cases avoidable. Maternal and infant morbidity makes the most depressing records of our health system issues. According to figures from the world population prospects Nigeria mortality rate is second Only to India – whose population density is fifteen times higher. In fact hospitals in Nigeria has become the most dangerous place on earth to the expectant mother as 55000 women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth complication issues. And an estimated 250000 new born die annually.
Most significant reason underscoring this high rate of mortality and reckless death of patients in Nigerian hospitals has been according to some documentaries related to poor medical facilities as well as lack of skilled medical personnel. However there remains a major factor that’s not been highlighted enough…. The power of impunity that overruns Nigerian institutions. Unlike in the many cities of the world Nigerian medical staffs know fully well that they can always get away with such act of irresponsibility. Despite so many years of empirical evidence of pervasive recklessness and outrageous negligence of life on the part of our medical institution and staffs not one member has been called to question to account for the numerous lives that are being wasted . In short our medical institutions are just not accountable for the lives they disrupt.
In civilized nations like the Asians and the Europeans where lives are valued any form of death is properly investigated and rightfully attributed to the agent and condemned whenever necessary . This is followed by a procedure of amendment through compensations or grants to repair damages. If hospital and doctors are charged for negligence of mandate then sanity will be restored to Nigerian hospitals.