Early this year as I was returning from Makurdi to Gboko in Nigeria, I met a new medical and anatomy graduate undergoing her one year National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) experience in a certain rural town in Benue State. Without a doubt, I admired the lady’s personality and her readiness to give those in the vehicle some health tips. She was a very cheerful lady, but in the course of discussions, she made some disturbing statements that got me thinking.
The first was that pregnant and nursing Mothers with HIV cannot breastfeed their babies. Second, she said that mosquitoes do not transfer HIV, because they die immediately after they suck the blood of any HIV-infected person. Due to her misinformation, the other passengers in the vehicle had to correct her.
And while she took the correction kindly, I could not comprehend the level of this new medical and anatomy graduate’s ignorance on common medical issues, issues that ordinary persons are knowledgeable about.
This is not a good sign at all, because it technically means that her long years of training in medical school, were not effective. Since then, I have not stopped thinking about the disaster such persons will likely cause for the medical profession as well as the dangers patients are to face in their hands.
I am not a medical practitioner, but one thing I am certain of is that the long years adopted by medical colleges in the training of intended medical professionals was not put in place for the sake of fulfilling a routine purpose.
Instead, it is supposed to be a process of intensive training.
It is within those years that the common health knowledge known previously by the doctors-in-training are affirmed, purified, or expunged. It is within these years, that they are taught about the various quick, slow, and steady measures of countering hazards affecting human health. It is a time they are taught how to consciously and continuously care and save lives at all costs. Indeed, the length of study in medical school is one that is very demanding, and in kind, demands a determined personality.
I have given deep thought on what could be the cause for this inefficiency and have concluded that it may be due to a lack of determination, pursuance of wealth and the complimenting of societal status.
When you are not determined about a subject, it does not mean that you cannot accomplish the task. What it does mean, though, is that the rate of success cannot compare to one who is determined.
Second, the joy of every medical student, with the intention of becoming a medical professional, should be to save lives and not acquire wealth. No doubt, the unstable and dwindling economies of most African countries leads most youth to prefer to pursue lucrative professions, such as medicine, against true desires. The determining factor guiding this decision is a focus on how to acquire wealth in the shortest period of time after graduation.
For students with this mind-set, the money they will make spurs them into often considering a medical profession. These types of people do not care so much about the inner joys that come from rendering a service that saves the life of another human being.
Most of the time, you see these people engaged in so many unrelated businesses or professions to supplement his/her intent for wealth. These persons are not willing to render any medical assistance whatsoever, without a direct or indirect charge for such services, no matter how minimal.
The last concerns the goal of uplifting one’s social status. It is no news that some parents force their children to pursue some professional careers for the sake of uplifting or adding to their societal status or identities.
Actually living out the demands of the medical profession and practice is boring to them. When they do so, they often have somebody who is behind the scenes who is actually doing the work even though they continue to take the glory.
This last motivation is the worst motivation there is, and it is not fair. In fact, it is the worst of the others delineated herein, because their intentions thrive on deception.
No matter the state of the economy of states in Africa, one choosing to study medicine must do so with the aim of saving lives.
At no time, should this be compromised.
Most times, when the sick look for a total healing, they pray to God. And God — through the medical doctors — shares His healing power. Thus, those in medical professions should see themselves as “angels” in charge of making physical repairs to wounded bodies.
The sight of a good doctor by a sick patient offers enormous hope. A hope that can be of almost the same pedigree that sick patients seek God.
Any African medical students who keep this in mind will experience their successes go beyond borders.