Wish for Africa Foundation

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Monday, 2 May 2011

April 27th 2011

A good nights sleep last night.  The first heavy rain of my trip was crashing down about 7.30 the noise made worse due to the tin roofs but typically it only lasted for 15 minutes or so. After my wash Femi sorted toast for breakfast and we went to meet my friend on the moped the money man.
We headed to Olowoora to see Gyles at the medical centre. Gyles is a medical student who contacted us at Wish for Africa wanting to spend time with us for his elective. It was the Ante natal clinic so a great opportunity to share the baby clothes that had kindly been donated to me and they were very well received along with some toys for the older ones. On my arrival all the women greeted me with a song and some dancing and of course I joined in. Gyles looked well and we handed him some money from WFA funds towards his costs as he was finding it difficult to sustain himself and was thinking of going to stay with someone, which we didn’t feel safe about due to not knowing them.

We then headed to Femi’s cousin who very sadly lost his wife last week. She had given birth to a beautiful baby boy and with a previous history of pre-eclampsia, this time it went to eclampsia a day or so after the birth. It sounds like the blood pressure may not have been well controlled and the hospital had decided not to do an autopsy, typically here the situation was probably covered up, no audit, no lessons learnt, no change of practise, no reviewed policies. Just a family with young children and a baby all with no mother, and this wasn’t even a poor family they could afford a good hospital, but so often it seems that the practises here are not as up-to-date, not evidence based and many people suffer not even realising it should and could be better.
The family although grieving were very welcoming, I was offered akara and made friends with the youngest daughter, who was only about 2 she shared her biscuits with me or should I say the crumbs which she amused herself by crumbling the biscuit on me, with fits of laughter. The grandmother decided I should be given a Nigerian name and suggested Adejoke (which apparently means some thing like gather around or together). It humbled me to think that these strangers in the midst of their grief can still be so warm and welcoming.

We visited a IVF clinic in Ikoyi  run by Dr Bolaji who trained in both Nigeria and Norway. He then decided to set up business here to provide a service to the increasing population of couples that are unable to conceive naturally. We were given an impromptu  guided tour of the unit by his wife and found it to be well run, clean and professional. There were several people being or waiting to be seen and they had a photo gallery of all the successful births. I also commented on and was impressed by a counselling service that they supply which is not a common thing in Nigeria. Stress, depression, mental health is not readily accepted here often thought of as a weakness or a blame thing, it was good to see that this clinic was taking the stress that often comes with the issues around IVF seriously and acknowledging and dealing with them.

As we drove I was trying to work out if things had really begun to improve here or was it that I was now used to the sights and they no longer surprise me. This in part is true I believe that familiarity does breed contempt but saying that the road sides generally were clean, the main road we travelled along had no major holes, it had a new layer of tarmac. The yellow buses had gone giving way to red and blue ones which had taken there place in a new government scheme allowing private enterprise to run the routes. They certainly looked an improvement on the previous buses. Nigeria has such a huge way to go in so many areas but things are beginning to change and that has to be a positive encouragement for its future.

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