'Medicare' and a Tribute to 'Baba Akeem'

At the begining of the three-day Bank holiday in Nigeria this week, what was on my mind wasn't the privilege of having a rare three-day Bank holiday at the beginning of the week (in reality a 5-day break when you include the preceding Saturday and Sunday). What was on my mind was the death last Tuesday week of ‘Baba Akeem', real name Mohammed.

Baba Akeem was a guard in the estate where we live in Lagos. He was from the Northern State of Borno and had also worked in the house we live before we moved in. His third child was born earlier this year. Unlike many other guards in the area, he communicated very well in English and was a likeable person – attributes of which became known to me in the last six to eight weeks before his death.

I noticed about two months ago that he looked different from his normal self, when I mentioned to my wife, she felt that he must have put on some weight around his face. A few days later, I sighted him again and questioned him about the puffiness of his face, he then informed me that he had been sick ever since he came back from a recent visit to his home town and he was unsure of what he ate or drank that made this happen. He also had sores all over his body. I suggested to him to visit the General Hospital and to let me know of the outcome.

When he came back to see me a few days later, he lamented that after waiting for a whole day, he was only given a consultation card with the instruction to come back on the 20th August. He went for the new appointment and on his return, he informed me that the hospital carried out a series of tests and eventually told him to go home and seek ‘native' medical attention.

At this juncture, I was a little bit confused, how could a hospital send a patient back home to seek native intervention? He was asked to buy some drugs as well. Needless to say that at this time, he was unable to work and take care of his wife and three children. Unfortunately, there is no social security system, no help whatsoever from the State, our much vaunted economic growth as a nation does not hold any water for the likes of Baba Akeem.

Three Saturdays ago, he came to say hello which meant his money had finished. We had a good chat, he also said his brother was going to take him to a military hospital in Yaba the following Monday. Things were looking up for him. A week later, on Monday 15th September, his wife came to see me for the first time and said her husband was very poorly and he had decided to go home to Maiduguri the following day. She wanted assistance with the transport fare. She also showed the medical notes from the Yaba hospital visit. I could make out ‘RVD' from the notes which I googled. Unable to make a head or tail of this, I decided to make enquiries from medical practitioners the following day. When my wife came home that evening, I informed her about the visit from Baba Akeem's wife and his intention to go back home. The following day, as soon as we got up, my wife said we must go and look for where Baba Akeem lives to stop him from going home, as she felt that going to Maiduguri will almost certainly result in his death.

We got in the car and took descriptions from people around. When we got to where he lives with his family in an uncompleted building, we found a group of people, probably about twenty in front of the house opposite. No clue. I noticed his first son who had come with his mother to see me the previous day, I asked him for his father and where they lived, he replied ‘my daddy don die' meaning my dad is dead. We were led to a corner of a room in the uncompleted house where his wife was secluded from everyone else. Apparently, Baba Akeem died at 4.00am that morning and had just been taking away for burial. He was 36.

Anger and despair were the words that could express how I felt. I was devastated. I felt I had not helped enough, I felt the whole nation had failed him too. I also felt rather helpless and hoped that I would not become immune from the sufferings of people. I was hoping that Baba Akeem would recover, I never knew he would die so soon. With the benefit of hindsight, I now realise I was naïve, the puffiness and the body sores pointed at something serious all along.

Baba Akeem could not access medical care because he did not have the money, period. He probably knew he would die. Like many sick and poor Nigerians, he probably was waiting to die.

The lesson I learnt is to act faster in cases like this. I have therefore decided, in conjunction with others, to launch ‘Medicare'. Medicare will do the following:

1. We will provide financial assistance towards medical care for those who are sick and unable to access medical care.
2. We will work with doctors and hospitals who want to help
3. We will accept financial support from those who wish to give
4. We will also have representatives and agencies in North America, Europe and in Nigeria,
5. We will use 100% of money donated for medical care.
6. We will also be transparent and publish the names of recipients and expenses on a regular basis

If you want to be involved in any way or give to this cause, please register your interest by contacting me or send an email to medicare@postcardfromlagos.com

A follow-up report shall be published in due course including the names and contact details of representatives around the world. Thank you.

Gbenga Badejo is the publisher of 'Postcard from Lagos' www.postcardfromlagos.com and also a Principal Partner at the ParkRoyalFinishingSchool www.lagosfinishingschool.com



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Re: `Medicare` and a Tribute to `Baba Akeem`
Dewdrops posted on 10-02-2008, 22:42:59 PM
QUOTE:
At the begining of the three-day Bank holiday in Nigeria this week, what was on my mindwasn't the privilege of having a rare three-day Bank holiday at the beginning of the week (in reality a ...[URL=http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10432/55]Read the full article.[/URL]

The lesson I learnt is to act faster in cases like this. I have therefore decided, in conjunction with others, to launch ‘Medicare’. Medicare will do the following:

1. We will provide financial assistance towards medical care for those who are sick and unable to access medical care.
2. We will work with doctors and hospitals who want to help
3. We will accept financial support from those who wish to give
4. We will also have representatives and agencies in North America, Europe and in Nigeria,
5. We will use 100% of money donated for medical care.
6. We will also be transparent and publish the names of recipients and expenses on a regular basis



Make sure you clear your projects with the "powers that be" first ooooooooh. Those khaki boys do not play with \"foreign investors\" like yourself who want to come and "put san san" in their garri since they cannot "ssshooop" money from the "contracts" you are awarding yourself from abroad.


In other sane environments, these are federal/governmental projects. Only in places like Nigeria will individuals struggle to provide what the government have failed woefully to provide.

This is a capital intensive project and I hope you do not go bankrupt trying to do the right thing without appreciation in the end.

You heart is in the right place but in the wrong environment.



Goodluck with your "champagne wishes and caviar dreams".

The medicare programme will never see the light of day when you have like 35million pounds in one politician-looter's account.

The good news is that not only the "Baba Akeems" in Nigeria go through such.........Yaradua is also living with a disease he has to go out of Nigeria to "treat".

Take heart........for \"the rich also cry\".
Re: `Medicare` and a Tribute to `Baba Akeem`
Ttonjo posted on 10-03-2008, 01:30:19 AM
I read your article with heavy heart and was greatly disappointed with the Nigeria selfish society that failed 'Baba Akeem'. I will not lay the blame solely on the government of Nigeria, because government cannot take care of everything in Nigeria.
I will describe your article as 'Medicine After Death', because this article exposed the selfish nature of the majority of 'well to dos' against the 'have not' i.e. the poor in Nigeria. Not only did they treat the poor in their midst badly as 'disposable items', they also look down on them 'contemptuously' as if they are not human beings.
If the so-called Baba Akeem, is so dear to you, I would have expect a God fearing person to pay for his medical treatment through numerous private hospitals and clinics in Nigeria. I am not surprise that Baba Akeem, died needlessly at just 36, because his poor soul mean nothing to the selfish and arrogant money missed road in Nigeria, who careless about the needs of the less priveledged in our society.
As I said earlier on, government cannot provide for the needs of everybody in Nigeria. Not even in the western world, with the exception of Britain, where medical care is free, but in America, you are on your own if you haven't got medical insurance. The following is a true story:

I remember when I used to live in the United States, I have a work colleague who is African American called Tom. I noticed that he did not turn up for work for few days. When he eventually turned up, I asked him what was the matter with him why he didn't come to work for few days? He showed me a big sore in his leg as a result of a domestic accident. I said, why don't you go to the hospital for treatment, (after all he's an American citizen by birth). His answer to me was negative, because, according to him, he could not, because he hasn't got a medical insurance.

As I said earlier on government cannot do everything for the citizens, although, government suppose to provide the basic needs of every citizen of the country. But in the absent of that as the case in Nigeria, all I expect is for the people to be their brother's keeper.
What actually happen to Baba Akeem, has exposed the SELFISH nature of our people. Chikena!!!
Re: `Medicare` and a Tribute to `Baba Akeem`
Ttonjo posted on 10-03-2008, 03:08:15 AM
I live by example! About two years ago while on holiday in one of the Africa countries, I observed that one of my hosts family was seriously ill. I asked his brother, what was the matter, and he told me that lack of money has prevented him from seeking medical care.
I asked how much was it going to cost him to seek medical help in their local currency, and I paid for it. I can assured you that within few days, I saw the gentle man hale and hearty after he got medical treatment, and I was glad that I was able to impact positively on someone's life.

If I was in position of helping Baba Akeem, when he was in dear need to safe his life, I will not hesitate to help both financially and otherwise. I won't wait for the ill equipped government hospitals to treat a very critical illness person, as described by you in Baba Akeem's case, if the private hospital could do the job.
But in Baba Akeem's case, he's was an ordinary megad....i.e. a 'domestic worker' in Nigeria society,(who are treated badly like a disposable material), whose like mean nothing to the ever pompous money missed road Nigerians.

Therefore, I do not believe in this 'Medicine After Death' story, because, I knew that the different between 'life and death' in Baba Akeem's, case is money, which a typical Nigerian rich men will not spare, that resulted into the death of the poor soul. May his soul rest in perfect peace!!!
Re: `Medicare` and a Tribute to `Baba Akeem`
Beam posted on 10-03-2008, 05:21:16 AM
Its a shame \\"Baba Akeem passed, but this happens all over the world even in the UK and the USA, it is not as rampant as it is in Nigeria and i think one person can make a difference,

The Uk has NHS, USA has MEDICARE, Nigeria really should have some kind of Health system for the masses , this is an issue very close to my heart

May Baba Akeem's soul rest in perfect Peace
Re: `Medicare` and a Tribute to `Baba Akeem`
Badejo posted on 10-03-2008, 07:01:07 AM
QUOTE:
I live by example! About two years ago while on holiday in one of the Africa countries, I observed that one of my hosts family was seriously ill. I asked his brother, what was the matter, and he told me that lack of money has prevented him from seeking medical care.
I asked how much was it going to cost him to seek medical help in their local currency, and I paid for it. I can assured you that within few days, I saw the gentle man hale and hearty after he got medical treatment, and I was glad that I was able to impact positively on someone's life.

If I was in position of helping Baba Akeem, when he was in dear need to safe his life, I will not hesitate to help both financially and otherwise. I won't wait for the ill equipped government hospitals to treat a very critical illness person, as described by you in Baba Akeem's case, if the private hospital could do the job.
But in Baba Akeem's case, he's was an ordinary megad....i.e. a 'domestic worker' in Nigeria society,(who are treated badly like a disposable material), whose like mean nothing to the ever pompous money missed road Nigerians.

Therefore, I do not believe in this 'Medicine After Death' story, because, I knew that the different between 'life and death' in Baba Akeem's, case is money, which a typical Nigerian rich men will not spare, that resulted into the death of the poor soul. May his soul rest in perfect peace!!!



Thank you Ttonjo for your comments. It would be unnecessary for me to write in the article the support I provided for Baba Akeem and his family during this period and I would not be tempted to do so now.

Obviously I was naive and should have done more, a matter for which I did not attempt to exonerate myself. And I have learnt my lessons, my hope is that others may learn from it too.
Re: `Medicare` and a Tribute to `Baba Akeem`
Bunch17 posted on 10-03-2008, 12:46:24 PM
QUOTE:
The Uk has NHS, USA has MEDICARE, Nigeria really should have some kind of Health system for the masses , this is an issue very close to my heart


What is wrong with the above sentence?
Re: `Medicare` and a Tribute to `Baba Akeem`
Beam posted on 10-04-2008, 08:36:18 AM
QUOTE:
What is wrong with the above sentence?



Bunch17, tell me please is wrong with the above sentence

To my knowledge UK have free health care for their citizens, in the states those who cannot afford healthcare and are on welfare levels do have free health care it is called medicare or medicaid, I am not aware of the one nigeria has for their citizens I am sorry if I am being ignorant here why not correct me
abi na the english I use
Re: `Medicare` and a Tribute to `Baba Akeem`
Bunch17 posted on 10-04-2008, 14:44:51 PM
QUOTE:
Bunch17, tell me please is wrong with the above sentence

To my knowledge UK have free health care for their citizens, in the states those who cannot afford healthcare and are on welfare levels do have free health care it is called medicare or medicaid, I am not aware of the one nigeria has for their citizens I am sorry if I am being ignorant here why not correct me
abi na the english I use


Sorry oh, I am not implying that you wrote anything wrong, but it is very rare to see Nigeria and System in used the same sentence. There does not seem to be the existence of any type of system in Nigeria and there lies our problem.
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