The choices we make


by ndubuisi edeoga

‘Tis the season of new year resolutions, when we make and un-make even more promises to ourselves and to our friends.

We have passed through a season of changes the world financial melt downs, sick presidents, possible terrorists from our land, ASUU strikes, NASU strikes, and all other related strikes that has affected our lives in no small ways.

We would keep all of that in perspective as we dwell on the most important aspects of our lives or what is left of it ” our HEALTH”

One of the most important books that I read in 2009 is “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness written by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, see more here

Two days ago I was chatting with a friend in Abuja who gave himself the best Christmas present ever. He finally got delivery of the car that he spent about $47, 000 getting for himself, he enthused about the rear view camera which came at an extra cost of $680. I was very happy for him.

At the tail end of our jist I asked him about his family and all the culturally required question we are supposed to ask as Africans. Then I asked him about his health.

Me: when did you last get your blood pressure checked
Friend: About a year ago, and my doctor said it was borderline
Me: what was the value,
Friend: I cannot remember, the last time I went to the doctors office the “machine” was broken.

The machine he was talking about is the blood pressure machine also called a sphygmomanometer, it is the most basic of all hospital equipments, well we all know that Nigerian hospitals have gone beyond these basic machines we now talk about MRI, machines, CT scans, and machines in their league.

To make a long story short, I gave my friend a “NUDGE”.
My friend is an UK trained attorney, who bought his car from Nigeria over the internet, after an extensive research on the web. But he would not go on the same internet and read about ” borderline” blood pressures.

The choices we make.

We and our friends should not leave our health care in the hands of our doctors and some broken machines. I made my friend understand that for the extra money he paid for the rear view camera in his car, about $680, he could buy 10 portable blood pressure machines each for $68, and give one to his father who just happens to be hypertensive and to 9 other family members.

Guess what I bought him for Xmas……you guessed right!

According to Thaler and Sunstein in their book, some people might need more than a NUDGE, they would do better with a SHOVE or even a PUSH. We all know that doctors are crucial social architects but friends and family are even greater social architects.

Call all your friends and family and ask them for their “VITAL STATISTICS” as I call them.
1. Blood Pressure: systolic/diastolic or the upper number / lower number.
2. Fasting Blood glucose: FBS or HBA1C for people that are already Diabetic
3. Cholesterol, + LDL and HDL


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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