Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The other day I got into a bus going to church, walked to the back of the bus and sat down. Was about to drift into my own thoughts when I started having a strange feeling I couldn't place, there was something not quite right about the bus!
I tried to place my finger on it - looked to the left, right and front at the other passengers talking animatedly; listening in on their conversations I felt a little more uncomfortable.
Suddenly, I couldn't take it any more, 'Is this bus going to church?' I asked desperately
'No, we're going to school', the teenage girl beside me replied.
I scrambled out of the bus - I had blended in with a group of teenagers going to school on a similar bus to the one I was to take to church!
According to a study conducted at Duke University's School of Medicine and centre for Ageing, the younger you look on the outside is a reflection of the state of ageing of your organs(biological ageing) - the older your biological age, the older you look.
For most adults, ageing on the inside proceeds at same rate with that on the outside, but your genes and where you stay may make you develop signs of ageing faster.
The study was done on 1000 people monitored from their birth in the early 70s till they were 38 years old. At 38 they had tests for kidney, liver function, blood pressure etc. It was discovered that at 38, some of them had a biological ageing of 58 year olds! While some (the youthful ones) had stopped getting older just as if their biological age was paused.
In essence those that had a biological age of 58 were looking much older than their peers and this was reflected in their organs.
So it might no longer be a compliment when people say you look older than your peers.
Are you team younger looking (like me) or team older looking?
image source: themovieslistwordpress.com
Monday, July 13, 2015
11th July 2015, the day Kazeem Lawal, an official of the traffic management authority, went to work directing traffic in a Lagos suburb, was his last day on duty.
Reports say Kazeem slumped and colleagues tried to revive him by pounding his chest and pouring water on him, all to no avail before he was rushed to the hospital.
He did not survive the trip.
We are not told his age but one can infer he should be between 30 and 45.
What could be the immediate and remote causes of this young man's death? Could it have been prevented? What can be done to prevent a further recurrence? let's consider this under the following:
1. His health condition
2. Conditions at work
3. Resuscitation efforts.
There are some likely conditions that could have led to his death
1. Cardiac arrest: This is a common cause of sudden death where the heart suddenly stops beating due to irregularities.
2. Dehydration/ heat exhaustion: Guess this is self explanatory considering our harsh weather.
2. Hypoglycaemia: A low blood sugar could also lead to death.
3. Hyperglycaemia: This is high blood sugar, also a cause of death.
4. Myocardial infarction (heart attack): This is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.
The conditions at work are also important; from the report some staff had just been sacked putting pressure on the few remaining.
Some questions arising
1. How long is the shift for an average LASTMA official, do they work all day? How frequently do they have off days?
2. How are LASTMA officials recruited? Is there any pre employment check to rule out such conditions?
3. Are all cadres registered in hospitals for care? Is there any provision for routine screening maybe on a 6monthly or yearly basis owing to the nature of their work?
Resuscitation: Are LASTMA officials being taught the basics of resuscitation at scenes of accidents? Should they be pounding their colleague's chest and pouring water on him rather than doing the recommended cardiac compressions? Do they go for classes in resuscitation?
These are all important questions to be asked as they go a long way to prevent the next avoidable death.
Meanwhile I call on the amiable Lagos State Governor to order an autopsy to be done.
image source punchng.com
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Nigeria is a country that is unique in many ways, in the midst of extreme poverty lives extreme wealth; as varied as the topography of the country, is the economic power of the individuals.
Presently average life expectancy in Nigeria is put at 52 years (2012). Could where one resides and the amount of money in one's pocket determine how long a Nigerian is expected to live?
Should you move from where you presently reside and probably add 10-15 years to your life? Or should you adopt a more frugal lifestyle and add more years to your life?
According to this study, the answer to the above questions is yes.
From the study of 48,871 respondents, it was found that one's pocket and the geo-political zone one belongs to determines to a large extent one's mortality.
The study found out that:
If you stay in the South West and you are among the poorest people, your risk of dying is just 5% while if you are in the middle income group, it increases to 16%, while the richest group accounts for 43% of deaths!
For the South East, the values are 4%, 24% and 29% respectively.
In the South South, it is 8%, 24% and 24% respectively
In all cases in the south, the richer you are the more likely you are to die.
This is in sharp contrast to what obtains in the north:
If you stay in the North East and you are among the poorest people, your risk of dying is 51%, middle income group is 18% while richest is 2%
In North Central, it is 20%, 27% and 14% respectively
In North West, it is 31%, 18% and 8% respectively.
What does this mean?
1. In the North East, poverty is the major cause of death
2. In the southern part the richer you are, the more likely you are to die
3. You are likely to live long if you are a rich man in the north.
Do you agree with this? Why do you think this is so?
image source: artdiamondblog.com, thisdaylive.com
Friday, July 10, 2015
It is now no longer news that breast cancer is a major killer among women and the leading female cancer in the world; it is also no longer news that an increasing number of Nigerian women are developing breast cancer.
Gone are the days when one can shrug off cancer as an 'oyinbo' (western) disease.
The best way to fight cancer is to prevent it, but if one cannot prevent it, the next best is to catch it early as the chances of cure due to early intervention are very high.
To catch breast cancer early, one must do a breast self examination. However,
according to this study Nigerian women would rather not do a breast self examination.
Out of 495 women aged between 31 and 41 years interviewed, only a meagre 24.4% have ever performed breast self examination while only 5.3% perform breast self examination monthly as recommended, that comes to 26 out of 495 women! An alarming statistic, why is this?
As usual, the number one reason was 'it is not my portion', meaning they have no reason to be at risk or even think of being at risk. Equal to this were those that have no idea how self examination is done. The few that were aware were the highly educated women.
So what can be done to remedy this?
First is to go into the communities and teach these women.
Breast self examination should be taught in antenatal classes.
The mass media should be massively employed.
NGOs and charity organizations are also invaluable.
So what are your views on breast self examination?
Saturday, April 4, 2015
The problems of Lagos Public Health hospitals include but are not limited to the following:
1. Poor amenities
2. A demoralised workforce
3. Poor referral facilities
4. Very low doctor to patient ratio
5. Long waiting times
6. Lack of bed spaces
7. Deceptive propaganda.
To say the present administration has paid lip service to the health care needs of its populace would be putting things mildly, the hospitals at best, cannot be called anything more than mere consulting clinics, they are not state of the art and do not deserve to be called tertiary health institutions.
Basic amenities like functioning blood pressure machines, ambu-bags for resuscitation, thermometers are few and far between, not a few people have lost loved ones because something so basic as constant oxygen supply was inadequate.
The running battles between the state government and the workforce which has led to incessant strikes is legendary, issues bordering on withheld allowances, stoppage of residency training, casualisation of doctors, poor welfare are already in the public sphere. The workers feel they have been bullied into a state of submission by the state government and this reflects in their work attitude.
It should be expected that in a state of nearly 20 million people there would be high demands on bed spaces for admission in the hospitals, unfortunately, the present administration has not thought it fit to look into this problem. In many cases, patients are turned back or referred to other hospitals because of a lack of bed space, it is not uncommon to see people who have been turned back from two or three hospitals because of this problem. Most times they move from one hospital to another in their own cars, motorcycles or tricycles. This is unfortunate for a city that claims a "mega city" status.
It is a major ordeal to get to see a doctor as there are hundreds of patients that throng to the hospitals daily, some patients devise schemes to enable them see a doctor like staying in the hospital overnight or getting to the hospital as early as 5 am. An individual doctor can expect to see upwards of 50 patients daily, this is way above universally acceptable ranges. The doctors are also too few to manage this throng especially with each patient demanding maximum attention from the doctor.
The propaganda too is not helpful, elderly and children come in looking for the "free" treatment they have been promised only to be shocked to find that "free" only means certain antimalarials and paracetamol.
One thus has to look to the new administration to resuscitate the dead Lagos State Health care, and paramount should be the following:
1. Provision and maintenance of adequate amenities.
2. A refurbishment of the Health Centers.
3. Massive employment of health care workers and competitive remuneration
4. Training and re-training of health care workers.
5. Expansion of wards with a view to providing more bed spaces.
6. A proper communication and referral system whereby hospitals are interlinked and statistics exchanged on available expertise and bed spaces.
Ambulances should be available to move patients between hospitals.
7. A cordial relationship between the health care force and the government, everyone needs to feel he/ she is important in the scheme of things.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Mr Governor: What is this I hear?
Mr Doctor: Sir, we are going on strike
Mr Governor: Again?
Mr Doctor: Yes sir.
Mr Governor: So you haven't learnt your lesson?
Mr Doctor: What lesson sir?
Mr Governor: That I will break your back.
Mr Doctor: Sir, he who is on the ground need fear no fall
Mr Governor: I will seize your salaries again
Mr Doctor: Sir, we didn't die the last two times you did it.
Mr Governor: What insolence, I will sack you all
Mr Doctor: Yes sir, but you can't sack our certificates
Mr Governor: What did you just say?
Mr Doctor: Nothing sir
Mr Governor: So you don't want to beg me?
Mr Doctor: Sir, we have been begging you for 4 years now.
Mr Governor: You people like money, didn't you swear an oath?
Mr Doctor: Sir, we can't exchange oath in the market for food
Mr Governor: You people are now market women, carrying placards everywhere
Mr Doctor: Sir, a labourer deserves his wages.
Mr Governor: Meanwhile you were missing in action during the Ebola crisis
Mr Doctor: But we volunteered sir, and remember the strike was a blessing in disguise
Mr Governor: What do you mean by that?
Mr Doctor: Sir, it's as if you haven't been in the General hospitals
Mr Governor: Young man what are you saying?
Mr Doctor: Sir, the hospitals are a death trap, when last did you send your doctors for further training?
Mr Governor: Young man, are you questioning my authority?
Mr Doctor: No sir, but when last did you improve their working environment?
Mr Governor: You are so disrespectful, that's why I will make sure you are all casualised and pay homage to me
Mr Doctor: Sir, would you allow a casual worker deliver your baby?
Mr Governor: Well...
Mr Doctor: So Why are you making your citizens use casual doctors?
Mr Governor: Well, that is not the issue.
Mr Doctor: But that IS the issue sir, don't you have a pension?
Mr Governor: Of course I do, what has that got to do with anything?
Mr Doctor: Sir, but casual doctors have no right to pensions
Mr Governor: I think I have made you too comfortable, that's why you dare challenge me
Mr Doctor: That's new information sir, have you provided us accommodation, transport or welfare?
Mr Governor: You doctors are too proud!
Mr Doctor: Sir, with all due respect, you are too proud!
images : vanguardngr and informationng
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
You can't place the symptoms, all you know is it started shortly after the electoral body declared the parties were free to start election campaigning.
Funny thing is you don't belong to any political party, so why are you being affected this way? After all, when the elections are over, either way they go, you return to your own dreary existence, none the better, none the worse.
But the symptoms won't go away...
It is everywhere you turn.
You go to work. 'Who are you voting for?' Your colleague asks you before you seat down . You are not ready for this - there is only one way this could end - loud voices and arguments - you smile and deftly change the topic to the only topic that can drown this one - salary alert!
The newspapers have finally arrived, a good reprieve from having to talk about elections.
You open a newspaper and there it is, right on the front page, an advert with the smiling face waving at you... You close your eyes, not again. You skip and turn two, three, four pages and another face, not smiling beckons at you, as if to say, this is serious business, give me your vote.
You feel like running away. Work is finally done, you run home, maybe the TV will offer some solace.
You turn on the TV, they are there! How did they know you would turn on the TV at this very moment? They have something important to say to you. You don't want to listen, you just want to watch a comedy, but sorry there is no longer time to air comedies.
Disappointed, you turn to your sure bet for stress relief - Twitter and Facebook. Immediately you regret this move.
The hashtags are every where, the arguments and counter arguments, the digging of facts and the burying of other facts, from the sensible to the outright ridiculous. You mute and block people, even your close friends, but more silly talk emerge.
You can't possibly block everyone - or can you? Since you can't beat them, won't it be better to join in the arguments?
By now, the headache is intense, you can actually feel your stress level rising; you don't even want to check your blood pressure -
surely all this animosity in the air can't be worth it.
But the worst thing is - you don't even belong to any party!
Now you can't sleep. They've finally taken away that last bit of control you had.
You feel it once again, the dreaded election distress syndrome.
What symptoms / attitudes have you developed since the election campaigns started? Is it even worth it?
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Remember the story of Sherlock Holmes? Arguably the greatest detective of all time. I recall a story he was getting bored with solving crimes, criminals were just not smart enough! He felt he could do a better job as a criminal and never be caught.
In the health sector, one can easily make loads of money from the gullibility of the Nigerian public, but then, one has a conscience.
Here I was in a car workshop and this unkempt looking man comes in with a small bag and goes ahead to make a unique marketing pitch.
He was selling a local herbal concoction which he said could cure Diabetes!
In just 5 days, he said, your diabetes would be cured with this special mixture.
He spoke with such confidence, I almost believed him, then I remembered, hey! Am I not a doctor?
He even boasted he had people who could give testimonies about the potency of his concoction..
Now, I was beginning to feel bad for going to school for almost a decade and not given this simple cure for diabetes, I had to ask for a refund!
What about all the patients I keep seeing in the hospital, how come none had received this easy cure for diabetes? Surely the hospital would be deserted if this secret was known!
As if that was not enough, in his mixture was a ...ahem...how do I put it?...a...manhood stimulator. In his words, if you used it on your wife, she would drop whatever she is doing and pursue you wherever you go in dire need for more.
By this time he had a rapt audience (me inclusive).
Before he left, he had already got an interested convert who wanted to call him for more details.
(I could never be so convincing as a doctor).
The other day, I stumbled on a more refined approach at my barber shop. This time, it was a lady with a machine which could read and detect all possible problems in your body within 5 minutes! - Your heart, your kidneys, your liver, your blood, anything! My barber trustingly paid,( I think it was 500 naira) and I endured listening to her tell him a load of absolute rubbish about his health while he listened.
This leads me to a sad story; a lady with fibroids, afraid to do surgery is advised by her mother to take a herbal concoction to shrink the fibroids. The concoction went on to shrink the life out of her as she started bleeding internally and externally, her kidneys shut down completely, she developed lung problems and died before you could say Jack Robinson.
Have you been a victim of a health scam?
Friday, January 9, 2015
Lol, no, that is not a picture from a Nigerian Hospital.
The scenario plays itself over and over again...
A man runs out of a car into the hospital reception.
'I have an emergency! Where is the doctor?' He screams.
Everybody stares at him.
'I said I have an emergency!' He repeats, agitated.
'Oga, calm down, what is the problem?' A nurse finally asks.
'Please I have an emergency.' He repeats for the fourth time.
'What happened?' The nurse asks for the second time.
The man realising he has to play by the rules tries to calm down and explain himself.
The man's patient has finally been admitted.
He walks to the nurses station and speaks with the nurse on duty.
'Please my relative is due for her injections.'
'Okay sir.' The nurse replies.
The man, satisfied walks back to his relative's side.
10 minutes later, he returns to the nurse, she is eating.
Trying to conceal his anger he reminds her about his patient.
As before, she replies, 'Oga calm down, I heard you the first time.'
With that she finishes her meal and follows him.
Have you had any similar experience?
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