Thursday, 11 April 2013

Find out more

Recently I got involved in the life of a little girl who was about 5 years old. The experience I got was so scary but also very informative and educative. I thought to share this information with parents, guardians, heads of schools, neighbours, hospitals and pharmacies.
          I realized that Nigeria pays a lot of attention to specific vaccinations when children are born and our hospitals do not have the culture of going through files to know who and who is due for another vaccination. They just leave it to the parents who might not remember or are not around and in the process skip a very important vaccine for the children.

As exposed as a lot of us think we are, there are a lot of things that we do not know, or have heard of and are not sure exactly what it is. The problem we have most of the time in Nigeria as parents is the lack of research. When it comes to making money, marketing and publicity strategies, we are on top of our game as regards research. The story is however not the same when it comes to health care. We usually leave that to the doctors and nurses who might not even be as informed as you might think. Trust me I know what I am saying because I have encountered a lot of medical practitioners who are not able to answer questions concerning different things like lupus and other forms of diseases that are not popular in West Africa. The fact that they are not popular does not mean that they do not exist among Africans. Well that is for another article entirely.
             Back to the child I was talking about in the beginning. I saw this child in church on Sunday and she danced and played, even ate cake as it was a birthday celebration of one of the other kids in Sunday school. They all took pictures and generally had great fun. According to the family, she got home after church and was so tired that she fell asleep. Her mother left her to rest for a while but after three hours they thought it was unusual for her to sleep that much in the afternoon. So the woman decided to go and wake her up but when she touched the little girl her temperature was so high that mother almost dropped her. There was fear all over the house because no one had ever experienced the kind of temperature the little girl had.

As it is with most Nigerians, when something like this happens the first thing we think of is malaria which we always try to treat by ourselves by taking or giving medication we believe our bodies can tolerate. The mother gave her fever reducer and malaria medicine hoping that when the child sleeps and wakes up the next day the fever will be seriously reduced.
Unfortunately at midnight that same night the child woke up screaming, the whole house ran to her and she was hallucinating. She said "the man is moving faster mummy please tell him to stop moving faster". At that point her mother started crying. She got a towel, dipped it in cold water and put on the girl's body to bring down the fever which got worse at that time.
Sleep became far from the whole house as they all stayed up with her till 4 am when they decided to take her to the hospital.
When they got there, the receptionist first took almost an hour trying to ask questions, calculate money for consultation and so on. After that it was time to take vitals before going to see the doctor. The mother asked for a paediatrician and that was when she discovered that most hospitals don’t have resident paediatricians, they have consultants who come in at specific times and on specific days.
Moving on, they saw a doctor who admitted her and ran blood tests. Of course you will find malaria parasite but the saving grace was a particular doctor who was very patient and made further investigations. He then asked for the child to be treated with heavy doses of intravenous antibiotics. After a few hours the paediatrician finally came and asked some questions and noticed that the little girl could not get her chin to touch her chest. At that point the girl's mother was called outside and she was told that they will have to take a sample from the child's spine because of the suspicion the doctor had.
That was the most painful extraction they had ever seen even for an adult but the results came two days later. That was when the mother was told that her child had meningitis and it was close to the brain. The only reason that child did not turn into a vegetable and eventually die was because of the doctor who insisted the child be given antibiotics. If not for that early treatment the little girl would have died. The girl's treatment was so painful and long, it came with a lot of sleepless nights at the hospital and so much discomfort for the little girl.
The mother got the shocker of her life when the hospital started asking her questions about her daughter's vaccination. When they asked her if she made sure her children took meningitis vaccinations she said she didn't even know there was a vaccination for that. She also discovered that there were some vaccinations her children should have taken even at the age of five. Some are taken after the age of ten and I am also aware that if your any child seeks for admission in any school in the western world, whether pre-school, kindergarten, grade school, middle school, high school or college you must bring a form filled buy the hospital telling them you have been taking all your shots and are up to date with them. The hospital documents will also tell them about your medical history and everything that concerns your family too.
          It is very sad that ninety percent of Nigerians pay attention to DTP, IPV, MMR, HBV and chicken pox. There are actually five more from what I have discovered including the almighty HIB.

Please try to find out how many vaccinations your children have taken and how many more they have to take. Try and make sure your hospital keeps you up to date with your children's medical chat and history. You must also know what they are allergic to and what treatments they have had over time.
Anything that can get into your spine and then your brain can kill faster than even HIV.

Please let us all try to take our children's health more seriously and I encourage you to find out about most of these immunizations, different illnesses that you can avoid, things your children should not eat or drink. Find out things you should look out for when you meet a paediatrician or go to a hospital that was recommended to you.

Your children should be your number one project so let the Research begin. Good luck.


  1. Hmmmmmmm, tank Goodness GOD for that patient doctor, may the LORD keep him alive, safe & healthy to keep up the good job!
    the first n second paragraphs almost made me want to cry & say 'Not again with Doctors, Nurses & Hospitals' but to GOD be the Glory! we still have some good patient & observant once.
    may the little child receive d LORD'S HEALING HANDS!!!

    Keep doing ur best Ma Stella, the LORD is ur Shepard!!!

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  3. OMG!!! I sure will take my daughter's immunizations and doctor's appointments more seriously. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. This should be an eye opener for all parents and everyone at large( everyone is a potential parent). Parents get so carried away with sourcing for livelihood, hence neglecting what is really important( the child's health care).Health is wealth they say, but we accrue more importance to wealth than our health, leaving me to wonder what use will the wealth be when you lose your life to some health condition u could have easily prevented if u paid attention. I called some females friends back in Nigeria and we got talking about stuff and then it got to the subject of health, i asked about PAP smear and i could not belief some dont even know what that is, yet they go on net and research the latest news in fashion and entertainment. We need persons, professionals,NGOs to create more awareness of the importance of vaccination, Routine checks( PAP smear, Mammogram, Prostrate examination, Self-Breast examination e.t.c) and to also elaborate the danger of self medication, there are fast growing strain of drug resistant bacterial right now, especially in Africa and it takes time to develop another drug to combat the new ones. Lets always put our health first. (Dr Daniel Oguntimehin, Resident Doctor in OBs&Gyn, Maimi)

  5. Hmmm I will be more careful with my daughters vaccination and all. Love this blog pls follow mine as well.

  6. So on point. All my 4 kids were vaccinated in Nigeria accordingly. But when we relocated to US, they took more than 5 injections each over a period of days before they were allowed to start school! My oldest is 11,and still have vaccination until she is 16! The school nurse send reminders to parents and a doctor note would be given to show the shot was taken, or else the child would not be allowed into the school, until done!

    I am so happy for the family,and thanking GOD for using that doctor.

    Many deaths are due to negligence like a friend whose new born baby died from complications arising from jaundice. She and her mother noticed it and told the nurse, who scolded them,saying if they were teaching her, her job! It was when they were about to be discharged, another nurse noticed it. They rushed to LUTH, it was too late! And She gave birth in a popular state hospital! When she got pregnant again, she went to a private hospital to have her child.

  7. The health system in Nigeria is comatose at best and has contributed to the brain drain of recent years. One cannot blame medical practitioners as you can only work with the tools at your disposal and within the inefficiencies of the septic system.

    One thing I'll point out though is that there's such a thing called 'different diagnosis' in Medicine and common things usually occur commonly (pardon the pun). Therefore, when a child has a high fever in a place like Nigeria, you would not be thinking of highfalutin diagnoses as a starting point in your preliminary assessment.

    However, it's easy to point the blame all the time at the government when a good deal of the problem is that parents are just mentally lazy to find out things for themselves. One can only hope things get better but I'm not holding my breath at this time.

  8. By the way, i listened to your Love Me Quick Quick Song; great melody and great voice. A breath of fresh air from the massively auto-tuned, ear-drum destroying yodeling that passes as music today. Keep it up!

    - Don Shoggino
    A we run tings, tings nah run we!

  9. you should check yourself seriously. ive always wondered why your inlaws never like someone as beautiful as you! if you are even dating doris ex whether now or before, you are a wrong person! in space of how many years your husband died you have reportedly married several times. and you have the guts to diss lola alao on her choice of marriage. stella you are worse!

  10. Stella,don't mind idle takers, concentrate n live your life to fulfill the reason u were created. Your have impacted many lives, continue to be yourself. Your beauty and talent is God's gift, some people are just jealous of you. May God give you strength to carry-on. God bless u.

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