Thursday, April 24, 2014


On a recent training trip to one of the hospitals in the UK, I had reason to require the use of their toilet facilities while trying to familiarize myself with the hospital. Like a typical Nigerian who will rather not ask directions I trudged along till i found a toilet sign and hesitated before entering because - naturally - I expected it to be locked; but alas! The doors opened as if I had just shouted 'open Sesame!', I entered cautiously not knowing what I would find on the floor or in the toilet or... ahem on the wall.
All my fears turned out to be needless as I found a well kept toilet, with water (of course), soap and tissues! To cap it up there were mirrors and choice of hot and cold water!

I know I must be sounding bush now, like what is the big deal in all these?

Well,this was a hospital that people trooped in and out like a market.

Questions that came to my head were:

How could they possibly afford so much soap, and how come they had so much tissues to waste, you could literally wrap yourself from head to toe with the tissues provided and still have enough to lie down on (okay I exaggerate a little).

Back home I was on a visit to one of our local public hospitals and felt the familiar call of nature, I vowed not to respond to this call until I got home - but invariably the monsters in me kept tugging at my intestines and I had to give them my complete attention; I had no choice. I had to use a toilet in the facility.

I tried the approach I used in Uk and walked through the hospital hall looking for a toilet sign which I found after a little walk, the surrounding looked pretty decent and there was no queue at the door or people scrambling to use it; this was too good to be true! Elated I walked to it and turned the handle - then I understood, the door was locked! This was a toilet that in the grand design was made for general public use!

Not to be outfazed (and desperate) I played the doctor card and got the keys to the moderately well kept toilet with the usual old drug containers used to collect water for.... ahem cleaning up; no tissues, no soap anywhere in sight.

My mind went back to my hospital at work and how I've never dared to go inside the toilets patients use in my many years of working there (the view from several yards away might be responsible for this).

But i'm really curious to know, so please is there anyone out there that has ever used a toilet in a Nigerian public hospital? What was your experience like? Did you find tissues, soap or water? I really would like to know.

Another question, if by chance these were not available can you proffer a cause or a solution? Like maybe the astronomically high cost of tissues.


  1. How I smiled (in happiness)when I saw notification of your post in email dear Dr E!
    Never used a toilet you speak of as never been to Nigeria. Glad you found the ones in UK OK.
    So glad you are posting again.
    Anna :o]

  2. So good to hear from you Anna, I really hope I can sustain this....

  3. Lol '...astronomically high cost of tissues'.

    It's just one of the many dividends of corruption we have to deal with. Someone, somewhere decided to siphone money allocated for toilet maintenance and the result is what we see in our public hospitals. Even if you as an individual decide to make a change by making toilet paper available, somebody will still hoard it thinking it would be put to better use in their homes rather than the public toilet. I think accountability would go a long way in curbing it. If somebody is held accountable, maybe there'll be a change. Welcome back Doc!


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