JAJA: WHERE LIVES MATTER LESS

-BY: Oladipo Oluwakayode

Human life is perhaps the most important on the list of precious things lost daily and though many of them are lost via the action of deranged fellows like terrorists and meth heads, perhaps the most appalling you would find are those to whom lives are or rather should be entrusted.

The University of Ibadan was on the 6th of May, 2015 rocked with calamity when Alaran Mayowa, a 200 Level Student of the Department of Human Kinetics reportedly slumped while watching a football match at the Junior Common Room of the Independence Hall. He reportedly died at the University Health Centre unfondly called Jaja due to negligence on the path of medical personnel on ground who reportedly demanded the deceased’s card before he could be attended to.

Variations of the story exists as the official report given by the then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Adewole stated that the deceased had died before he was brought to the clinic.

Which of the variations is true remains a mystery to this day, however history and recent events suggests that the former stated variation of this tale of woe may be true.

The writer of this article had before now heard of the subpar and insensitive manner of the University Health Center by students, staff and the public alike.

On the 11th of May, 2018, the writer experienced directly the frustration and nonchalant attitude to human life that is experienced daily by individuals seeking relief from their ailments at the University Health Centre.

The story began when the writer received a call from a friend who works in a shop at Agbowo informing him of an illness she had. The aforementioned friend who is not a student of the University was writhing in pain on getting to the shop where she worked.

The writer hitherto unskilled in the medical arts tried putting calls through to relatives and friends of his ill friend to seek for assistance in getting her into a hospital all to no avail.

She then requested to be taken inside the school premises as she was expecting assistance from a family friend whose only assistance was to ferry her in his car to the University Health Centre.

On getting there, the nurses seemed rather unconcerned about the state of his friend as they were seen chatting happily. Based on the urgency of the situation, the writer approached the young man at the counter who referred him to the emergence nurse.

The ‘emergency’ nurse (in quotes because her attitude to life was so not befitting of that title) instead of swiftly attending to the friend of the writer, dragged the writer to her office and started a rather annoying lecture on how his medical fees do not cover outsiders and how he should have taken her elsewhere.

The tone the ‘emergency’ nurse used was unprofessional and unmotherly as should be characteristic of medical personnel as she rattled on about how the protocol could not be broken. After about ten minutes and with much hassle, the writer was referred to the Records compartment of Jaja where he was asked to pay a consultation fee of N1000, which in the officer’s own words, ‘does not cover drugs’ before the patient could be attended to.

There was a rather long queue of people waiting to see the doctor and seemingly because the friend of the writer was not a student, her case was not given priority.

Out of disgust and annoyance, the writer refused to pay the fee and instead sought for alternatives by calling a friend who is a medical student informing him of the inhuman treatment he received at Jaja. As the workers of the University College Hospital was on strike, she (the ill friend of the writer) could not be taken there. The medical student after requesting a description of the symptoms the patient had prescribed some analgesic drugs to ease her pain and recommended the writer finds her a place to spend the night and then go to another hospital the next day.

The story ended on a happy note but it begs a lot of ‘what if?’ questions. What if it had been a matter of life and death? What if without immediate medical attention, the patient could have been lost? These questions still run through the mind of the writer as he pens this piece lamenting the appalling state and conduct at the University Health Center.

The writer is certain that many lives have been lost at Jaja not because of the ‘seriousness’ of the medical conditions of the victims, but because of the nonchalance that exists there.

In conclusion, it seems the people at Jaja have soon forgotten the sad event of May 6, 2015. It seems they have absolutely no interest in preventing such from reoccurring. It seems that human lives at Jaja are inferior to protocol, less important than finishing a meal and less significant than gossip.

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