Bring Back the Dispensaries !!


by ndubuisis edeoga

Growing up in rural Nigeria, I remember one incident vividly, because I still have the scars. My parents were away, and I was home with my two older brothers and one or two relatives that lived with us. During a scuffle very early one morning, apparently my two brothers wanted to skip their chores and go to school and the older relative would not take that, she said “no chore no food”, well my parents were away and my two older brothers wanted to assert some authority. The struggle was over a flask of hot water for the tea, I was the happy onlooker, well the flask broke and guess who had the hot water all over his abdomen; me of course.

That was in days before we all had cell phone (sometimes I sit and wonder how we had survived without cell phone). To cut a long story short my eldest brother put me on his bicycle, and was sprinting away as fast as he could go, with my other brother running after us, I guess the trip to the dispensary which was about 3-5miles away, took forever, I was screaming in pain all the way to the dispensary.

The dispenser was so kind he took very good care of me, I guess I has second degree burns, no fees were charged, no forms were obtained, I JUST GOT GOOD HEALTH CARE ! when I grew up I realized the dispenser was not even a doctor, but who cares when he was the best doctor I ever had.

Repeat the scenario today and you would end up in one of the several private hospitals abound in rural areas, where you would have to get a form, pay some money upfront before you get any care, that is if you do get any care before you die. What would my brothers have done, they had no money.

In the newspapers yesterday I saw a very sad story Again; “CHOLERA CLAIMS 73 IN BORNO, TARABA”, the story goes on to tell give us some reasons for these deaths “He alleged that medical officers posted to the camp had refused to attend to patients, because their allowances were not paid. He said, besides that, the camp lacks drugs, beds. LACKS BEDS and DRUGS!! .

ON the next page of the same newspaper I saw this other story “FG MOVES TO END OVERSEAS MEDICAL TREATMENT” The story went ahead to tell us about the efforts to “provide one of the best facilities in dialysis, radiology, dental laboratory, theaters, mortuary and such other her facilities that will make the a difference”. The MORTUARY part I completely agree with for very obvious reasons.

We are putting the horse before the cart, we need the basics while we attempt to get the greatest and biggest,

I too would like to have a hospital as good as the Havard medical center or the Cleveland Hospital in my village, who wouldn’t. But what we need most are the small things…. the dispensaries and the dispensers.

More Nigerians die from diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia than from ALL the diseases needing an MRI to diagnose put together….i.e.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

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