Tuesday 13 March 2007

Healing on a jet plane

Running for president

This is beginning to look like some sort of amusement, a comedy mating with a farce to produce the utterly laughable.

Only last week, the obituary was written of the rather sprightly and seriously healthy presidential candidate of the PDP when he was carted off (flown) to Germany for a checkup related to "breathlessness", which he fully recovered from, he would shortly be back on the campaign trail.

Now, it seems the Vice President was over-doing his daily workout on his treadmill and has in the process acquired a torn tendon - Go figure! Those things have emergency STOP controls. He was then flown out to the UK to his "local" hospital on the presidential jet - was that the magnanimity of Jekyll Obasanjo or Hyde Obasanjo at play? - For surgery. He was literally running for president, one chuckles.

My frustration at the fact that there are no health services capable of handling breathlessness or surgery in Nigeria is really disheartening.

Another opportunity for excellence

The Vice President for instance has established a seemingly reputable university in his home state of Yola which from all appearances would be a centre of excellence. - [Late edition - I stand corrected by Chippla, the home state of the Vice President is Adamawa, whatever happened to the good old North Eastern State? Thanks Chippla]

One wonders why one or two teaching hospitals cannot be selected to be groomed as centres of medical excellence where resources are not spared in bringing the best medical brains, equipment and means to serve as the incubators for raising health and healthcare expertise in Nigeria.

The people who have then built these institutions can from there become ambassadors or evangelists of administrative prowess and development for other hospitals such that we do not have to run off to Europe for anything as mundane as a sneeze.

One can only wish these men well, but if in the 47th year of our independence we cannot fulfil basic health needs beyond primary health care and international NGO-sponsored immunisation programmes; Nigerians now need to demand of their leaders better stewardship of health along with other infrastructure needs as electricity, transport and communications.

For anyone who aims to lead Nigeria, these should be no-brainers, Obasanjo failed to see the sense of duty to handle these issues, maybe of the crop of the crippled (Abubakar), breathless (Yar'Adua), smart-arse (Utomi) or non-charismatic (Buhari) choices we have to make, a surprise might arise before we suffer the fate of Goodluck as president - and that would a fate equal to Armageddon.

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