Saturday, April 29, 2017
In Nigeria, when you have a health problem, you don't need to think too much about what to do, you can just walk into any pharmacy or chemist with or without a prescription and get a remedy. Whether or not the 'remedy' gotten is appropriate for your condition is another matter entirely.
One common agony for a lot of Nigerian men is getting drugs for erectile dysfunction, they want something immediately, now, there's no time to wait for annoying doctor tests. But do these easily obtained drugs work?
Read more here
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Take a trip to any major motor park or market and find a corner to sit and observe the sights and sounds around you. Listen especially for the mobile herbal drug sellers.
I was at a popular motor spare part market in Lagos some time ago and listened as a local herbal drug seller bombarded the airwaves advertising his wares. I naturally wouldn't have paid any attention but as he was using a really 'loud' loud speaker I had no choice but to listen. My ears pricked as what he was saying slowly filtered into my brain.
Maybe I wouldn't have had any problem with him if he was saying his drug was a general cure for all diseases (as they always claim), but he picked a specific name and practically libeled it blaming it for possibly every disease and condition under the sun from backache to STDs to erectile dysfunction. With gusto he kept shouting and blaming Staphylococcus. I was livid, surely staphylococcus couldn't be blamed for all these myriad conditions.
I watched a Nollywood movie recently in which a doctor told a couple that their test result was out and they had staphylococcus! The wife turned in utter shock, disbelief and despondency at her husband, her life was literally over and it was his fault. Staphylococcus! What a shameful man.
There are certain things we should know about Staph, one is that it is one of those 'normal' organisms found on our skin, in our nose, nails etc, it can also be found on surfaces. Sometimes when a laboratory test shows growth of Staph, it is often due to contamination of the sample during handling.
So is Staphylococcus a sexually transmitted infection?Staph is not considered a Sexually transmitted infection but it can be transmitted from skin to skin contact e.g.during sex.
So what kind of infections can Staph cause?Staph can cause many infections such as boils and skin infections, food poisoning and urinary tract infections
Can Staphylococcus kill you?It is quite unlikely that staphylococcus would kill you except of course it leads to a more serious infection and you refuse to treat or don't use appropriate antibiotics.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
You've kept a pack of paracetamol very well, but fortunately, you've never had cause to use it. It is now midnight and you are woken from sleep with a nagging headache; you reach for the pack of paracetamol, but something tells you to look at the expiry date. No! It expired a month ago! Luckily, the pack is still in the same state as when you bought it. What do you do?
Read more here
image:RALF HIEMISCH VIA GETTY IMAGES
Thursday, April 20, 2017
It took Madam Comfort and Madam Jennifer (Not real names) about 5 years and 1 year respectively to get to a hospital.
You would think that they would have arrived the hospital earlier but like all things in Nigeria, nothing is as easy as it seems.
The fact that Madam Comfort's abdomen looked as if three grown men were hiding inside or that her legs looked like two Iroko trees standing side by side having a conversation wasn't enough to wake up any sense of urgency. Madam Jennifer's case was not so bad, her abdomen, though enlarged just made her look pregnant, for an elderly lady in her 70s I guess this wasn't anything to seriously worry about.
A doctor confronted with such cases might not know where to start after getting over the initial shock and bewilderment, I mean, don't these people have eyes? How can you sit at home and ignore such glaring symptoms?
There is also another quandary the doctor faces, do you take such cases as emergencies? For surely they can't be emergencies if they decided to take so long before presenting.
Let's say the doctor decides just to order for some tests to be done and sends them home, there are two possible Nigerian reactions; one is to humbly accept that the doctor is always right and the other is to ask the doctor, "Look at her, can she go home like this?"
But we are skirting the main question here which is why did it take them so long to get to the hospital?
Nigeria is a unique place. Such cases happen everyday.
An elderly woman is left alone in the village while her children have gone to chase the golden fleece in Lagos, Abuja or other metropolitan areas. She notices something wrong with her body and she goes to her backyard, plucks some leaves, adds a few essentials and drinks. She expects to get better.
In a few weeks, a neighbour comes to visit and notices mama is not looking very right. "There is this specialist in roots I know, I can take you there," the neighbour offers. A date is set for the next week.
Mama is taken there and she returns home with her 'prescription'.
Another month passes and mama is not getting better. Some enlightened relatives come visiting.
"Mama, this looks like an attack, let's take you to a spiritualist," they offer.
Mama begins a 6 month spiritual therapy.
Finally mama is tired and decides to stay at home and accept her fate. Calls are made to her child/ children in the city. They respond that they will come to the village as soon as they can get time off work. They send money to mama.
It takes another 5 months before they get time. Finally they are home with mama. They look at the situation of things.
"Mama, let me return to the city and make preparations for you to come over."
These 'preparations' take another 4 months.
Mama is finally in Lagos or Abuja, but that is not the end of mama's woes.
There is no money to take mama to the hospital
Another period of hustling begins which can take several months, money is gradually collected from different relatives and well wishers.
Finally mama is brought to the hospital about 3 years after her initial symptoms.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
They say real super heroes do not wear costumes. Rather, they are the everyday people that do astonishing things despite great odds against them.
Going to the cinema that day I had mixed feelings; I really wanted to know what happened behind the scenes during the Ebola outbreak in 2014, but again I didn’t want to relive the fear I had as an ill equipped doctor during that period.
I finally decided to buy the ticket and waited for the movie to start. The emptiness of the cinema at that time made me wonder if it was the right choice as we were only 10 people ( among which were 2 kids ) at the start of the movie.
This changed as the movie progressed but I was too wrapped up in the unfolding scenes.
93 days is a story about everyday people who became Super heroes, not because they wanted to but because they had to. There was no other choice.
The story opens with an aerial view of the Lagos Lagoon and quickly moves to the marina with the narrator saying “this is my city Lagos…over 21million people call it home…how connected we are…how very fragile we are.” This poignant narrative sets the pace for what is to come - the relatively peaceful and bustling ambience of the city is about to be shook by an event so minute in its onset but so cataclysmic and wide reaching in its outcome.
The scene moves to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport where an important dignitary on a wheelchair is being ushered to a waiting SUV. We see him sweating and coughing sporadically while being comforted by a protocol officer.
The dignitary is played by no less an actor than Keppy Ekpenyong; we later come to know him as Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian- American diplomat, the man who would change the lives of millions in the country.
The SUV weaves through the Lagos traffic passing through one of the most congested parts of the city - Oshodi and makes its way to First Consultants Hospital in Obalende which will be the place the shit literally hits the fan, excuse my French.
We are subsequently introduced to the other major actors in the film; Dr Stella Adadevoh played by Bimbo Akintola who we see praying at home with her family, Dr Ada Igonoh being brought to work by her husband, Nurse Justina who was 6 months pregnant and at her first day at work and Dr Ohiaeri the Medical Director played by Danny Glover. The major actors being introduced, it was time to get the action rolling.
Dr Adadevoh gets a call at night from a distressed doctor about a troublesome patient and promises to be there.
We then face a hospital ward round scene in the morning where Dr Adadevoh and her doctors have their first official meeting with Patrick sawyer.
“Are you sure you didn’t come into contact with anyone with Ebola?” Dr Adadevoh asks Sawyer.
“No contact with dead bodies?” Dr Ada Igonoh asks Sawyer.
“Do I look like a grave digger?” Sawyer bellows at them.
Here we have our first inkling of Patrick Sawyer’s character, we do not like what we see.
The story then goes through various twists and turns where we are shocked to see Sawyer angrily yanking out his IV cannula and spraying blood all over the walls of the room and onto the bodies of the doctors, nurses and health workers, Dr Ohiaeri and Adadevoh being placed under pressure by Liberian authorities to let Sawyer go for his meeting at Calabar, the initial unpreparedness of the Lagos State government for the outbreak and the traumatic and horrifying events at the isolation unit at Yaba culminating in the deaths of Dr Adadevoh, Nurse Justina, Jato the protocol officer and Nurse Aide Evelyn among others.
What do I think about the movie? Actors that stood out for me were Bimbo Akintola, her portrayal of Adadevoh was so real and believable I had to remind myself how the real Dr Adadevoh looked by doing a Google search; Keppy Ekpenyong was perfect for the role of Sawyer, he made you pity him, he made you sad, he made you angry all at the same time. I would however have loved him to have a richer use of the Liberian accent. Danny Glover played the role of the Medical Director who carried the heavy weight of the hospital on his shoulders and had to make unpleasant decisions; his acting was flawless.
However, I had problems looking at Danny Glover as a Nigerian; there were certain mannerisms that simply were not there for example that Nigerian swag and language use.
Although I got to understand the original Dr Ohiaeri had an American education, I would say the effort to make Keppy Ekpenyong have a Liberian accent should also have been put into giving Danny Glover at least a tinge of the Nigerian accent. However, I must quickly add that the lack of “Nigerianess” in him did not in any way affect the beauty of his delivery. Which Nigerian could have played that part well? Only RMD comes to mind.
I also struggled to determine who the protagonist of the story was, the main actor as Nigerians would put it. Going into the cinema I felt it would be more of the story of Dr Adadevoh who gave her life to prevent an Ebola pandemic, but I left the cinema feeling Dr Ada Igonoh somehow took her shine.
Emotional highlights in the story were Patrick Sawyer spraying the hospital staff with his blood, the deplorable conditions at the isolation centre at Yaba, the First Consultant staff having to rely on just ORS at the isolation centre and Dr Adadevoh finally succumbing to the disease.
How did the movie make me feel as a medical practitioner? I vividly remember the fear we were all under during that period especially working in one of the public hospitals that could easily have been the first port of call for Patrick Sawyer and knowing how ill equipped we were as regards training, facilities and protective equipment, this was all despite the propaganda that the state was prepared for the outbreak.
Sadly, two years after we are still ill equipped to face an outbreak of such proportions.
What I didn’t like? The end, I felt it was rushed, we had just been taken through a roller coaster of emotions, we would have loved a gradual landing and a period to reflect, it all ended so suddenly.
Overall, it is a must watch movie, very well researched, actors were carefully chosen who bore resemblances to the actual people; acting was top notch.
Verdict: A movie you should watch, though not for the overtly emotional.
Have you seen the movie? Do you agree with me?