Senator Ben Uwajumogu died not just to whatever disease that primarily afflicted him, but the inability to challenge death medically as it is done elsewhere including some African countries is becoming embarrassing.
Nigeria is embarrassing the Black world.
I wrote this little note and I have been sharing it with those with greater personality, more amplitude voice and higher reach.
Please permit me a space to pour out my heart on the grim consequences of the absence of emergency medical care in Nigeria especially in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
It is a fact that if there is cardiac arrest, a golden window of only four minutes is needed to successfully restart that heart, else, death or severe brain damage occurs.
In proper settings, this is done by the paramedics attached to the Emergency Ambulance service (EMS) of the health system as they are the first trained responders.
Regrettably, the National Council of Health since 2015 approved the establishment of the EMS; but till now, the service is yet to take off. It is also on record that most emergency units in tertiary hospitals in Nigeria do not have cardiac defibrillators, the most essential equipment in reversing cardiac arrest.
Our weak and chronically under-funded health system is one reason foreign investors fear to come near Nigeria.
Let me warn the nation this morning that because illness is no respecter of persons, age, gender or position, the time to start a proper emergency medical service especially pre-hospital care was yesterday.
I call on the Senate to wake up and lead on this task. At least three of its members have suffered sudden unexpected death within three years.
They need to call for a medical audit of their deaths.
I also advocate for the training of domestic staff, personal aides, VIP drivers, police orderlies, hotel staff, taxi drivers and in fact everybody on cardiac resuscitation as it is done elsewhere.
May we learn from this and not merely mourn again only on our lips.
Who is the next to be let down by Nigeria’s sick health system?
What a nation at 59!
•Dr. Ewunonu writes from National Hospital, Abuja