Healthcare: An uncaring federal government



It is a failing of human nature to be blinded by our own status when thinking or giving attention to issues. Few are able to put themselves in the position and moods of others in order to understand what either ails or drives them.The fat cats maintained in the controlled atmosphere of the National Assembly, where the dirt of toil is insulated out, cannot really appreciate the medical challenges average Nigerians face.

The elite corps wants to see glittering streets, devoid of beggars of course. But how are beggars created? They, in most cases, are victims of one kind of disease or the other. Increasingly, many are victims of accidents. Many also became destitute out of deprivation. But why should a Senator care? They are not members of his family. They may not be from his clan even. (Southern senators are right to be indifferent to begging as those who beg for alms are not from their clans) Begging is a Hausa-Fulani problem.

But I am not writing on beggars and their neglect. The digression is just to show the consequences of neglect of the health of citizens. Why single out Federal Government for rebuke? Well, first, it controls more resources. Second, the examples we are giving stem from federal medical institutions. First example: a young man with family had an accident from which he sustained a fracture on his leg. When I visited him in the orthopaedic hospital, he told me he was not going to be operated upon till he paid N250,000! He could not assemble that amount to pay the federal government, so he had to discharge himself.

Neither the government nor its hospital staff cared to know where he went. Did the leg rot due to poor treatment? Was it ultimately amputated? Did he die? Who cared! You are important to your family not government. Second example: Another accident victim was admitted in another federal medical institution. He suffered some head injuries. His family had to pay a deposit of N250,000. After it was exhausted, they were asked to pay more. He later died, and the federal government got more money to pay perquisites to National Assembly members.(depriving the poor to feed fat cats).

Third example: a retired junior civil servant has a grown up son. The son, who operated a tricycle for a living became diabetic, with the consequence of kidney failure. Now unable to earn a living, it is his retired father the federal government expects to cough out N36000 weekly for dialysis! What a care! What a show of love and affection! This patient will surely direct that come 2015, he be wheeled out to a polling booth to vote Jonathan in for…a tenth term!

But the people who rule over us, are they part of us? South Africa of apartheid years could not have been this inhumane. Muslims who fall sick in Saudi Arabia during pilgrimage, and require surgery get it free irrespective of their nationality. Were Makkah in Nigeria, the federal government would collect the pilgrims’ BTAs, and starve them to death. We should not bother to find out why the federal government is insensitive. The question is: why do we accept it?

Abdullahi Musa,
Kano

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