Thursday, January 28, 2016


"I hear the government is deploying all resources to tackle Lassa fever."

"Really? Just like Ebola?"

"Exactly, just like Ebola."

"But that time banks and schools were checking people's temperatures and providing taps to wash hands, I don't see that now."

"That is because Ebola and lassa, though both viral haemorrhagic fevers have different modes of transmission, here there's a different vector - rats."

"Rats? But I still see rats everywhere."

"Didn't you listen to the Minister of Health the other day?"

"I didn't know we have a Minister of Health."

"The government is doing a lot to eradicate them from the environment."

"Really? But I was in a government hospital the other day and I saw large rats running around."

"Don't worry, the rats have been technically defeated, they no longer have the capacity to mount conventional attacks on the populace."

"But I hear more people have died due to Lassa Fever than Ebola which only claimed a handful."

"Young man, you don't know what you're saying, do you know how much the government has budgeted for health this year?

"You mean for the health of the president?"

"Young man, what are you talking about?"

"I hear 4.8 billion naira was budgeted for the Aso rock clinic."

"And so?"

"Is it not too much?"

"Young man, do you know what a clinic is?"

"Yes, it is a place used to provide health services to OUT PATIENTS, what could they possibly need 4.8 billion naira for?

"Young man, we are talking about Aso Rock, don't you know the president needs a first class clinic with state of the art facilities to serve him and the Aso Rock staff?"

"I agree sir, but it's just a clinic, I believe there is a teaching hospital in Abuja."

"My friend do you want the president to go to a public teaching hospital?"

"I'm sorry sir, but err... what will they use the money for? I hear that is more than the budget of some teaching hospitals."

"Sharrap there, do you know how much medical equipments cost? Do you know how much an MRI, a dialysis machine or an ambulance costs?"

"Yes sir, a MRI machine costs about $3m while a new dialysis machine costs about $10,000; but sir the president does not have kidney failure and it's not like he would need an MRI daily, maybe once a year or once in his tenure; surely it can be done in a private lab."

"Young man, it seems you don't know your mate."

"I'm sorry sir, I was just trying to make common sense."

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Why Looking Younger Than Your Mates May Make You Live Longer .

The other day I got into a bus going to church, walked to the back of the bus and sat down. Was about to drift into my own thoughts when I started having a strange feeling I couldn't place, there was something not quite right about the bus!

I tried to place my finger on it - looked to the left, right and front at the other passengers talking animatedly; listening in on their conversations I felt a little more uncomfortable.

Suddenly, I couldn't take it any more, 'Is this bus going to church?' I asked desperately

'No, we're going to school', the teenage girl beside me replied.

I scrambled out of the bus - I had blended in with a group of teenagers going to school on a similar bus to the one I was to take to church!

According to a study conducted at Duke University's School of Medicine and centre for Ageing, the younger you look on the outside is a reflection of the state of ageing of your organs(biological ageing) - the older your biological age, the older you look.

For most adults, ageing on the inside proceeds at same rate with that on the outside, but your genes and where you stay may make you develop signs of ageing faster.

The study was done on 1000 people monitored from their birth in the early 70s till they were 38 years old. At 38 they had tests for kidney, liver function, blood pressure etc. It was discovered that at 38, some of them had a biological ageing of 58 year olds! While some (the youthful ones) had stopped getting older just as if their biological age was paused.

In essence those that had a biological age of 58 were looking much older than their peers and this was reflected in their organs.

So it might no longer be a compliment when people say you look older than your peers.

Are you team younger looking (like me) or team older looking?

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Monday, July 13, 2015


11th July 2015, the day Kazeem Lawal, an official of the traffic management authority, went to work directing traffic in a Lagos suburb, was his last day on duty.
Reports say Kazeem slumped and colleagues tried to revive him by pounding his chest and pouring water on him, all to no avail before he was rushed to the hospital.

He did not survive the trip.

We are not told his age but one can infer he should be between 30 and 45.

What could be the immediate and remote causes of this young man's death? Could it have been prevented? What can be done to prevent a further recurrence? let's consider this under the following:

1. His health condition
2. Conditions at work
3. Resuscitation efforts.

There are some likely conditions that could have led to his death
1. Cardiac arrest: This is a common cause of sudden death where the heart suddenly stops beating due to irregularities.
2. Dehydration/ heat exhaustion: Guess this is self explanatory considering our harsh weather.
2. Hypoglycaemia: A low blood sugar could also lead to death.
3. Hyperglycaemia: This is high blood sugar, also a cause of death.
4. Myocardial infarction (heart attack): This is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.

The conditions at work are also important; from the report some staff had just been sacked putting pressure on the few remaining.

Some questions arising
1. How long is the shift for an average LASTMA official, do they work all day? How frequently do they have off days?
2. How are LASTMA officials recruited? Is there any pre employment check to rule out such conditions?

3. Are all cadres registered in hospitals for care? Is there any provision for routine screening maybe on a 6monthly or yearly basis owing to the nature of their work?

Resuscitation: Are LASTMA officials being taught the basics of resuscitation at scenes of accidents? Should they be pounding their colleague's chest and pouring water on him rather than doing the recommended cardiac compressions? Do they go for classes in resuscitation?

These are all important questions to be asked as they go a long way to prevent the next avoidable death.
Meanwhile I call on the amiable Lagos State Governor to order an autopsy to be done.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Where You Stay, How Much You Have, And Your Risk Of Dying In Nigeria.

Nigeria is a country that is unique in many ways, in the midst of extreme poverty lives extreme wealth; as varied as the topography of the country, is the economic power of the individuals.

Presently average life expectancy in Nigeria is put at 52 years (2012). Could where one resides and the amount of money in one's pocket determine how long a Nigerian is expected to live?

Should you move from where you presently reside and probably add 10-15 years to your life? Or should you adopt a more frugal lifestyle and add more years to your life?

According to this study, the answer to the above questions is yes.

From the study of 48,871 respondents, it was found that one's pocket and the geo-political zone one belongs to determines to a large extent one's mortality.

The study found out that:
If you stay in the South West and you are among the poorest people, your risk of dying is just 5% while if you are in the middle income group, it increases to 16%, while the richest group accounts for 43% of deaths!

For the South East, the values are 4%, 24% and 29% respectively.

In the South South, it is 8%, 24% and 24% respectively

In all cases in the south, the richer you are the more likely you are to die.

This is in sharp contrast to what obtains in the north:

If you stay in the North East and you are among the poorest people, your risk of dying is 51%, middle income group is 18% while richest is 2%
In North Central, it is 20%, 27% and 14% respectively
In North West, it is 31%, 18% and 8% respectively.

What does this mean?
1. In the North East, poverty is the major cause of death
2. In the southern part the richer you are, the more likely you are to die
3. You are likely to live long if you are a rich man in the north.

Do you agree with this? Why do you think this is so?

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Friday, July 10, 2015


It is now no longer news that breast cancer is a major killer among women and the leading female cancer in the world; it is also no longer news that an increasing number of Nigerian women are developing breast cancer.

Gone are the days when one can shrug off cancer as an 'oyinbo' (western) disease.

The best way to fight cancer is to prevent it, but if one cannot prevent it, the next best is to catch it early as the chances of cure due to early intervention are very high.

To catch breast cancer early, one must do a breast self examination. However,
according to this study Nigerian women would rather not do a breast self examination.

Out of 495 women aged between 31 and 41 years interviewed, only a meagre 24.4% have ever performed breast self examination while only 5.3% perform breast self examination monthly as recommended, that comes to 26 out of 495 women! An alarming statistic, why is this?

As usual, the number one reason was 'it is not my portion', meaning they have no reason to be at risk or even think of being at risk. Equal to this were those that have no idea how self examination is done. The few that were aware were the highly educated women.

So what can be done to remedy this?
First is to go into the communities and teach these women.
Breast self examination should be taught in antenatal classes.
The mass media should be massively employed.
NGOs and charity organizations are also invaluable.

So what are your views on breast self examination?

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