The Head of MEDUSA

The beginning of this month of August was a very prayerful one for many a Nigerian student, at least those who believed that even God can mediate between ASUU and our (…) federal government. ASUU, we had heard was set to embark on yet another strike; while the memory of last year’s six-month postponement of the destinies of millions of (the poor man’s) children is yet hard to forget! Except it was not felt by any of the people that matter, since their own children are in the recently popularised, yet thoroughfare-resistant, “other climes” that the average Nigerian cannot visit or school his seed in.

ASUU is however not the villain of this tale; after all, we all protest in our own ways. From the neonate that would not quiet until fed or rocked, to the child that would either go out with his mother or be pacified with a token, to the adolescent that grumbles away his reticence or unbelief, to the wife that will not yield in that precious moment of the night, to the husband that threatens to not pay the lazy or ill-performing child’s fees come next term; we all protest in our own little ways. Always. And we deserve to. All of us. All.

Now factor in a government that is only responsive to force: strike and violence, as against protests (that are quickly disbanded by the police or the army, or usurped by some sponsored heads), roundtable discussions (that head nowhere more often than not) and agreements (that are not fulfilled in specified time, unless of course force smells). A government that cannot find its own money, or America’s, since the money is even in Dollars. A government that believes it is our turn for insurgent terrorism, and can pay one billion naira for violence but not for healthcare or education or youth empowerment.

So that from teachers to court clerks, and from the polytechnic to the university, we have all been to the renowned land of downed tools. And are always keeping that option both in mind and in sight; every one of us, even NUPENG and PENGASSAN, ASUU, NASU, SSANU, and ASUP, and who else? And particularly the NLC- until January 2012 became June 1815: Waterloo. But now that Doctors have finally exhausted the bridge of patience and set foot on that popular land everyone else visits more often than they dare care to admit, the former must be shouted down, loathed, and sacked. Are they slaves?

Like the rest of us, the Doctor wants his pay revised as they often do who often fatten off the rest of us in the name of governance, and often so. The Doctor wants his efforts to be appreciated, like he does who shares national honours around so he may (be able to) dance himself to his demise as they praise him who have dug a pit in his path and concealed it with mattings. The Doctor wants his workplace to be safe, conducive and healthily comparable to what is obtainable in “other climes”, and wants modernisation to aid his speed and accuracy, and lessen his trouble. Can one truthfully say he has asked for too much?

But all the Doctor gets are accusations: He likes money too much. Yet everyone hikes their prices whenever the buyer is a Doctor. He is proud. Yet we all want our children to be proud Doctors we can take pride in. He is selfish, is not considerate, and does not want others to reach “the peak of their careers”. Yet he donates monies for his indigent patients, and prescribes the cheapest drugs out of consideration for their pockets, and does those over-the-phone and on-the-corridor consultations his defamers so love for free.

And as if their height of hypocrisy is that of the Buhj Al-Arab, it is said that he diverts patients. Yet, the nurse runs her own clinic, the pharmacist has a clinic behind his shop, as the others also do whom I must not mention lest they have my head- diabolically. Why then is it that only the Doctor (is said to) divert patients? Could it be a ploy to shut him down seeing as he is the only one legally authorised to open clinics and hospitals? Or… Do the proprietors of private schools and universities also divert students? Do operators of public transport in Lagos State likewise divert passengers from the BRT?
Ironically, none of these people illegally setting up clinics will allow the Doctor to encroach on their territory!

Matters arising…
Doctors went on strike to protest salary irregularities, hazard pittance in the name of allowance, and encroachment by those I again must not mention. (Mo sá fún-un yín tó o!) Who wouldn’t have? Is 5 000 naira per month incentive enough to confront Ebola in all its incurability? SEE, The Eyes of MEDUSA; link below.

Abegi, forget nano-urànkàn; nano-something. And the government after cajoling them (with partial agreements) and blackmailing them (with unsolicited announcement of the end of their strike) has finally ‘terminated’ the appointments of a great percentage of them, some 16 000, because they fail to yield to cajoling, blackmail and temporary agreements. Would you? from these our (…) government? Na today?

Still, the NMA is fighting for a healthcare system that works, that our politicians will be proud of enough to quit spending our money on medical tourism in “other climes”, that will be able to save every life that can be saved anywhere else, even US, UK, India, South Africa. The NMA is fighting the proliferation of death centres in the name of cheap alternatives to hospitals. Despite the shortcomings, and outright failings in playing the victim-politics and winning public sympathies as good as her detractors are, the NMA is working to preserve lives resident in Nigeria, including their own, by attending to the casualties of bomb blasts and contributing to the fight against Ebola, despite the ongoing strike. The NMA is fighting for us!

For instance…
A standard Ebola reference centre should have at least 4 select buildings:
1. The Ebola ward for confirmed patients.
2. A well-equipped (and comfortable) quarantine area or building for those with symptoms similar to Ebola or those who have had close contact with a confirmed case.
3. A well-equipped residential area for healthcare personnel on an “Ebola posting”. At close of work the doctors et al treating Ebola patients do not go home to further endanger their families; they must reside in the on-site exclusive residential area.
4. A logistics centre where rapid diagnostic and other routine tests for suspects and cases are carried out and the results analysed and

This Ebola posting should not exceed three to four weeks per set of healthcare personnel to limit the chances of them getting sloppy. And following this posting they are screened and returned to the general circulation (only) if negative.

Have it any other way and one may as well change the hospital to a (warm) morgue and the healthcare workers to mortuary attendants. So this business of various health ministries naming any hospitals with a gate as Ebola centres is a cruel joke at best, and an invitation to a suicide mission and open epidemic at worst.

And this is why the NMA will not be part of such: To protect the general population, to protect their own families, to protect themselves. No one wants to die. No one, the Doctor inclusive. SEE, Ebola and the GORGONS; link below.

So far, the best the average Nigerian sees fit to do is applaud the opposition and rally round the government as they put us Doctors to the guillotine and decimate us. The average Nigerian would rather wait till Health had become like Education with massive failures, or Justice with unbelievable injustice, or Transportation with alarming incompetence! The average Nigerian would rather the Doctor were dead and buried, and the para-Doctor came to treat (and be treated to) his
pocket, and not his health.

Well, Nigeria will get all that and more; if we continue the way we are headed. A people deserve the leadership it gets, for, as was observed centuries ago, “when Allah wants to deal kindly with a nation, he entrusts its reins in the hands of wise men and gives wealth to its generous people; and when he wants to deal with a nation harshly, he entrusts its control in the hands of foolish people, and gives wealth to its miserly men.” (Abu Daud)

But there is yet time for a rethink. For everyone that was delivered by a Doctor, saved by his skills, or/and revived by his tenacity to join hands with him and protest the illegality of the loss of his status and his job, to stand by him and stare down our nonexistence of a government, to rally round him as he defies our nonentities in Abuja. There is yet time to put the past behind us and forge ahead, together, into a planned, pleasant and profitably secure future. There
is yet time to make our home, our own, just as good as, and I dare say better than, those “other climes”.

Yes, there is yet time; because the next time, e fit be you o.

Ayokunle Ayk Fowosire,
Whatsapp: +2348068619636.

“Medusa: In Greek mythology, a mortal woman who was transformed into a Gorgon, a dragon-like creature with snakes for hair. According to myth, Medusa was once a lovely maiden, but when she dared compete with Athena–either by taking too much pride in her hair or by having a love affair with the god Poseidon–the vengeful goddess turned Medusa into a monster. Medusa’s head was then so hideous that anyone who looked at it was turned to stone.

“Medusa was eventually slain by Perseus, who cut off her head with the assistance of Athena and Hermes. Because Perseus dared not look at Medusa, Athena guided his hand while he viewed the reflection of Medusa’s head in his shield. The severed head was given to Athena, who is sometimes depicted with the head of Medusa on her shield.”
(Microsoft ENCARTA: Medusa)

But that was not the end…

Suspending medical residency in Nigeria is not only a desperate move, it is a woeful act whose implications on specialist care as well as undergraduate studies are unquantifiable, to say the least. But lest I become Nostra, suffice it to say that this is the beginning of our end, and not the end of our beginning, as the fools believe, if we fold our arms or clap our hands in the face of such infinite stupidity as this. For this is only the tremor that heralds the quake that
defines our end, the end of our sovereignty, the end of our existence.

As for those of you encroaching on our jurisdiction, the time has come to close shop. We have found your hypocrisy where you kept it at the peak of the Everest. You learn from us, gain from us, cheat us, and cheat on us; yet you mock us when we are done helping you, incite the
people against us, and connive to usurp us. That one must not bite the finger that feeds him, however helpless it may seem, is a lesson you
must not have learnt before now. There’s a reason you don’t stir the hornet’s nest.

As for Doctors, we shall rise again to claim that which is rightfully ours. And this time, Nigeria can rot for all we care. After all, the lad who cried wolf deserved to be with him; and the gingerbread made such a delicious meal.haz

Ayokunle Adeleye

Ayokunle is a doctor, a writer at heart, his opinions are strong and he wants a better society. Follow him on twitter @adelayok