Kwara state in Nigeria has a unique health program on the go to help the poor afford medical care. It’s backed by Hygeia, a Dutch health organization, and has been in place in that part of the country since 2008, thanks to Governor Bukola Saraki.
Too bad they call this program a Scheme, though. That makes it sound like a con-job, and I expect some people are wary enough and misinformed enough to avoid those services by name alone. Take a story from this news article about one of the 700 people in that area whose eyesight was saved by the timely intervention of the doctors at this hospital in Shonga.
One of the beneficiaries named Yusuf N. Shonga, 35, who was blind for about 20years regained his sight through the scheme.
According to him “the first day I regained my sight I burst into tears. I have been living in darkness. I never knew I could ever see again. Immediately I knelt down to thank the Almighty for the wonders he brought in my life.
“Ironically, I was initially hesitant when told of the scheme. Even some people dissuaded me from coming to the hospital, saying the doctors would use their knives to worsen my situation. But the persistence of the nurses here has saved. Thankfully I only paid a sum of N300.”
I don’t think there’s anything ironic about it, given the history of religion and magic and superstition that makes up the belief systems I’ve read about in Nigeria and other African countries. Just about everyone they quote in the article is thanking god for their health improvements, too.
That always bugs me. Why not put the credit where it belongs, on the doctors and leaders who make these advancements and improvements possible?
The Chief Nursing Officer of the hospital, Alhaji Suleiman Yusuf praised the traditional rulers in the area for their support for the programme and for encouraging their subjects to making themselves available for screening and treatment at the hospital.
According to him: “The traditional rulers are the ones mobilizing the people, the medical team and representatives of the emir move from village to village in sensitizing the people on the need to patronize the hospital.
Yusuf expressed delight that the villagers have wholeheartedly embraced the scheme as they can see the advantages inherent in it.
That’s certainly the case for anyone who couldn’t see worth a damn the day before. I don’t doubt they still have a lot of work to do there, too. It’s good that groups can get this stuff going and improve the lives of those who’d have to do without otherwise.
Which reminds me.. donated anything to Doctors Without Borders lately? I haven’t…