George Burns once opined, “The most single key to longevity is avoiding worries, stress and tension.”
A corroboration of the above is the Chinese proverb which says “tension is who one think one should be; Relaxation is who one is.” It is known generally that when one engages the body so much, and spare out no time for relaxation, the body will eventually suffer for it.
The relationship that has existed and is existing (and to continue to exist) between the students of University of Ibadan and the University Clinic is such that cannot be overlooked as several cases of students who had in one way or the other been affected by the catalogue of school activities had ended up taking up seats in the clinic.
It was like yesterday when all students resumed back to school after the unexpected long-break, although the semester is gradually running out. Different activities excluding the social ones for now, have been hectic, and a bit too much demanding and complicated than what most students had expected or put differently, can bear. Among such activities include the hectic registration processes which comprise both the faculty and department registration; online course registration and the signing of these course forms; all of which are a ‘must-do’; while classes have always been an everyday inescapable business. These do not even include the anxiety of tests, assignments, research work and presentations plus the mental stress they engender. Most of all these have proven to be a difficult task that students see as one that must be done. So far, the cases of students who had collapsed in the middle of one activity or the other and had to be rushed down to Jaja clearly reveal that, most students seem to be biting more than they can chew in relation to combining both academic activity with other activities that may be important, necessary but time and energy consuming.
There have been lots of complaints by students over how various activities have been taking its toll on them. Classes have been taking the whole day, and there have been no such thing as a spare time to relax. Stress without rest weakens the immune system, and reflects itself on the outside. The stress attributed to reading, attending classes is such that cannot be overlooked. Activities do not give quality time for relaxation and at such the body gets vulnerable to diseases of all kind. Little wonder most likely, these stress which has weakened the immune system must have contributed in one way or the other to the deaths of hitherto health-challenged students with about three already dead this year, all dying of malaria. How ridiculous malaria can be the causation for the death of Africans born and bred in a community divinely infested with mosquitoes. And what is more ironical is the teaching of GES 107, “Eat well, rest well and exercise well” as prerequisite to healthy living.
Now we need to ask ourselves, how can one not miss breakfast when all classes for the week starts by 7am? Or how can one avoid stress as the textbook advised when one is compelled to take about 5-7 courses a day with little breaks in between? Where is the time to rest well when the little breaks and times after class around 6-7pm are spent on assignments, term papers, researches, projects and in preparation for tests; not to include commitments to religious organizations; cooking, washing, laundry et cetera? And exercise? How can one without time to rest, exercise? Except of course the lateness-driven running to class suffices. It is only rational to assume that the increase in Jaja patients is directly proportionate to the enormity of class and consequent-class activities.
However, this is not to say students-turned-patients have been getting the best of treatments. The relationship between them has been described as unsatisfying, with several cases of students’ maltreatment unending. Hardly would you hear any good report about the Clinic. It seems the staff are so mechanical rather than being passionate in their dealings with patients.
The University Clinic can be described as the place to visit when one has a spare time; a place where “time wastage” is the trademark for their services. The duration of time that one gets to stay at the clinic to see a doctor is really a precious waste of time, as one can get to spend more than the hours one ought to spend waiting to see the doctor. Cases of emergency are not treated any little above “normal cases” such as headaches, fever, cold and catarrh, malaria etc. An asthmatic patient expected to get preferential treatment is ordered to fetch her case file. There have also been numerous cases where patients seem to have been treated without a proper medical skills and professionalism. For instance, there was a case of a student reported to have been given malaria drugs without a proper diagnose. Some students now prefer to go outside campus than the school clinic because they feel the clinic has nothing to offer but more to take especially time.
It was said that when a one gets too used to drugs that do not relate to the illness they are meant for, the chances are that such persons’ are likely to have complications with serious dangers, and may never live a normal life, if at all they survive.
Anxiety is another pest on its own that affects students generally. Anxiety, depression, worries, and stress affect the physical and mental health of students; all which trigger reactions in the body which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. As ravaging as it has been, anxiety is abstract, though the effect concretely physical; it’s ones thought, and at best reactions that create the false belief.
Apart from the physical activities students are involved in, there is also the mental stress which in fact is the greatest of it all. Thus, reactions to stress is one that shouldn’t be undermine; Hans Selye said, “It’s not stress that kills us, it’s our reaction to it.” That does not even include the health hazard student are exposed to in their halls of residence such as damaged louvre, untreated water, stagnated drainage which expose one to malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Of course, it is apt that students needs to manage this well so as to avoid stories that touch and scenes that disgust at Jaja Clinic. But then, there are two sides to a coin, and if students are responsible for the stress they go through, who bears the weight of responsibility for imposing on them, the system which engendered the stress they go through.