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?
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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?
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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.
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