By Tajudeen Olanrewaju
I was a victim of COVID-19, a survivor through the grace of Allah. I know the tremendous pains, the excruciating vise grip on the lungs, the racking throttling of the throat, the persistent, savaging cough, the gasping heavy breath for life.
I write this as a tribute to a fellow Prince of Lagos and an Ọmọ Eko Pataki, Prince Muis Adediran Shodipe-Dosunmu, who just passed on; another victim of the COVID scourge.
Muis’ death was avoidable. He died in a terrible atmosphere at IDH in Yaba, where the doctors were ill-motivated, without salary, without the least incentive to carry out their duties.
The doctors and nurses are often ill-equipped to tackle the challenges of COVID. They subjected Muis to various cocktails of drugs, ranging from disparate antibiotics to Omeprazole, which eventually impaired his kidneys. Every day, his elder brother Prince Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu, was given different prescriptions. For 13 days of living hell, Uthman procured a vast array of medications at 68 Army Reference Hospital, as if his younger brother was being reduced to a guinea pig experimentation until life ebbed out of him inside an ambulance with a single nurse who was not even equipped with a mere syringe. He died as he was rushed for dialysis on the grounds of St Nicholas In Maryland.
It is quite shameful that a state that generates over N50 billion every month cannot adequately protect her citizens and properly equip her hospitals against the scourge of COVID.
Needless deaths are recorded everyday, because Lagos State oxygen plants are not adequately supplied. Patients die when the central oxygen supply abruptly ceases. Patients die when power supply suddenly goes off. Patients die when the dialysis machine at the IDH are reduced to object of politicization.
I wonder why the Lagos State government can not make the vaccine available on its own accord, instead of waiting for the Federal Government to supply it from it’s own stocks.
Culturally, people live in extended family contact. It will be difficult to treat COVID-19 cases at homes. What are plans of the state for treating COVID-19 in the schools, in the markets and other public places?
Apart from IDH Yaba, equipped by donors (Bill Gates etc), where else would victims of COVID-19 report for treatment. Victims of COVID-19 are dying in hundreds without the state putting in any rectifying remedy. The Ọmọ Eko Pataki is now urging the Federal Government to probe the spate of unreported deaths at the IDH in Yaba.
Many patients can not afford the cost of treatment, which often runs into millions of naira. This a hard chew for those who are struggling with poverty and other challenges of existence.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea if our elected representatives could use their constituency projects funds to set up temporary IDHs in their senatorial districts? Many lives would be saved!
The state has enough financial muscle to take this extra mileage to save lives. Alpha Beta, ICC, JB, Aliko Dangote, etc, can give support in this regard to save people’s lives. Who knows who the next victims of COVID-19 Delta variant would be?
We, at Ọmọ Eko Pataki, are now urging the Lagos State government to urgently live up to her responsibilities by immediately infusing funds to a more effective healthcare program that will upgrade our hospitals, motivate the health workers and stop the avoidable deaths in our state. The present situation is really disheartening. Muis would have been saved if the state had prioritized her responsibilities, instead of the seeming indifference and ineptitude at the highest level, which has now tragically percolated down the line.
•Olanrewaju, a retired Major General, is a Trustee, Ọmọ Eko Pataki,and writes from Lagos.