SIMON Cowell has revealed that his horror fall last week was caused by low blood pressure.
The X Factor boss, 58, admits he was lucky to survive after fainting and tumbling down stairs.
After he was rushed to hospital in a neck brace and told to rest from this weekend’s shows, Cowell has vowed to change his lifestyle for the sake of three-year-old son Eric.
Simon said: “Sometimes we get a reminder that we’re not invincible and this was certainly mine. It was a huge shock.
“They think I fainted because I had low blood pressure and so I have got to really take good care of myself to sort that out.
“After all I am a dad and have more responsibility than ever.”
Simon Cowell gives a thumbs up after being rushed to hospital, fainting the day before X Factor live shows start.
Recalling the accident in detail for the first time, he said: “I’d gone to get some hot milk because I felt ropey. On the way back upstairs, I just remember feeling really dizzy.
“Next thing I know someone was putting a neck brace on me and I had a terrible headache, which must have been from me hitting the stairs. I was worried at first that I’d done some real damage.
“But I’m on the mend now. I know I was very lucky I didn’t hurt myself seriously.
“It could have been a lot worse. I must say, everyone at the hospital were incredible. I’m truly grateful.”
But on docs’ advice he watched the weekend shows at home with partner Lauren Silverman, 40, and Eric. Judges Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger took charge on Saturday.
Last night they were joined by Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha.
A source said: “The medics told Simon it would be too quick for him to return to work 48 hours after a serious medical episode.
Simon Cowell listened to doctors advice and skipped the first week of live shows
“Alesha was a natural stand-in. She’s well liked and knows what she’s doing.”
Last Thursday evening, hours before the accident, Simon spoke to The Sun about the changes to the live shows and his hopes for the final.
At X Factor’s new West London studios, he said: “If we don’t find an out-and-out star this year we’ve failed. I’d blame myself. And all of us.
“You can’t get it right every year. But I’m genuinely excited by a few people we’ve turned up.”
In June, Simon Cowell pulled out of the X Factor’s London auditions over a mystery illness
This year the Sunday results show has been changed to include a second round of singing.
Simon has scrapped the survival sing-off which would see the judges vote to save their favourite act, often sparking controversy.
Instead more screen time is devoted to the most talented singers and less to the no-hoper “novelty” acts.
And in a further twist, the top-ranking performers after the weekend’s public vote will sing once more for a “money can’t buy prize”.
Simon added: “Now each weekend is like a mini-final. When we say ‘money cant buy’ it’s got to be exactly that. When the team showed me what they’d got for prizes I almost didn’t believe them. They’re bloody brilliant.”
Asked if he is desperate to emulate Strictly’s success, Simon said: “It’s the same as when you’re running a record label. You’re having a good run then out of nowhere another artist on another label starts selling gazillions.
“All you can think is ‘Right, how do I get my artist to do that too?’
“Do I always want to be more successful? One million percent.
“The truth is, and I hate to use words like ‘catch-up’ etc, but about eight million watch our show every week, and maybe even as many as ten million in the end.
“I haven’t watched Strictly in four years. I probably should. But I’m like that with the record label too.
“Sometimes you see a big album drop but you think, ‘Shall I listen to it — maybe not it’s just going to make me feel sick!’”
Simon is thrilled ex-judge Cheryl’s return as a guest has proved a hit.
He said: “She’s so quick. We’ve had our ups and down but we have an amazing working relationship. We hope to feature Cheryl in another show we’re working on. We’re going to announce it soon.”
Simon had “no idea” about Nicole Scherzinger’s future after she recently hinted she could quit.
He added: “All I would say is the people on the show have got to want to be about the contestants, I’ve always said that.
“If you’ve got bad contestants you’ve got a bad show . . . great contestants, you’ve got a shot.”
HOW YOU CAN TACKLE THE CONDITION
FAINTING is always due to low blood pressure at that moment.
When blood flow to the brain plummets, you lose consciousness.
Some people do have continually low blood pressure – under 90/60.
On the whole having low blood pressure is a good thing and often needs no treatment.
But some people can get symptoms like dizziness or recurrent fainting.
You can help the condition by not standing for long periods and by avoiding dehydration and excess alcohol.
Also, don’t miss meals. Have frequent small meals.
Men who have performed oral sex on five or more women are at greater risk of developing head and neck cancer, especially if they smoke.
Oropharyngeal cancer can be triggered by contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is a common cause of cervical cancer in women.
Although the risk of diagnosis remains low – just 0.7 per cent of the male population – US researchers warned that men are more likely than woman to contract it.
According to the research, published in the journal Annals of Oncology, 15 per cent of men who smoked and had five or more oral sex partners are most likely to get HPV.
Around seven per cent of men who smoke and have had two to four oral sex partners contract the infection.
And the lowest risk group were those who had one or no oral sex partners in their lifetimes, with only 1.5 per cent of them getting an oral HPV infection. This rises to four per cent among non-smokers with two to four oral sex partners.
The risk was much lower among women, anyone who did not smoke, and people who had less than five oral sex partners in their lifetimes.
One of the authors of the study, Dr Amber D’Souza, said cases of head and neck cancer are predicted to overtake cervical cancer by 2020 and said that, because of this, an effective screening process was crucial.
“It would be useful to be able to identify healthy people who are most at risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer in order to inform potential screening strategies, if effective screening tests could be developed,” she said.
“Most people perform oral sex in their lives, and we found that oral infection with cancer-causing HPV was rare among women regardless of how many oral sex partners they had.
“Among men who did not smoke, cancer-causing oral HPV was rare among everyone who had less than five oral sex partners, although the chances of having oral HPV infection did increase with number of oral sexual partners, and with smoking.”
Researchers analysed data from 13,089 people, aged 20-69.They used the numbers of oropharyngeal cancer cases and deaths from US registries to predict the risk of cancer from oral HPV infection.
There are over 100 different kinds of HPV but only a few are known to cause cancer. HPV 16 or 18, for example, is known to cause most cervical cancer, and HPV 16 also triggers oropharyngeal cancer.
In a fascinating and scorching editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three authors argue that the myth that exercise is the key to weight loss – and to health – is erroneous and pervasive, and that it must end. The evidence that diet matters more than exercise is now overwhelming, they write, and has got to be heeded: We can exercise to the moon and back but still be fat for all the sugar and carbs we consume. And perhaps even more jarring is that we can be a normal weight and exercise, and still be unhealthy if we’re eating poorly. So, they say, we need a basic reboot of our understanding of health, which has to involve the food industry’s powerful PR “machinery,” since that was part of the problem to begin with.
The major point the team makes – which they say the public doesn’t really understand – is that exercise in and of itself doesn’t really lead to weight loss. It may lead to a number of excellent health effects, but weight loss – if you’re not also restricting calories – isn’t one of them. “Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30%,” they write. “However, physical activity does not promote weight loss.”
Plus, in the last 30 years, exercise has stayed about the same, while overweight and obesity have skyrocketed. So something else must be at play – like the type of food we’re eating. That part has gotten steadily worse over the years, as highly-processed sugary foods and sodas have taken over as our go-to choices. “According to the Lancet global burden of disease reports,” they write, “poor diet now generates more disease than physical inactivity, alcohol and smoking combined.” This is a disturbing statistic. But it gets worse.
The related and larger issue is that even normal weight people who exercise will, if they eat poorly, have metabolic markers that put them at very high risk of chronic illness and early mortality. “Up to 40% of those with a normal body mass index will harbour metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, which include hypertension, dyslipidaemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cardiovascular disease.”
And the crux of the issue is this: We’re continually “fed” the idea that all that’s behind the rise in obesity is lack of exercise, or sedentariness. There have certainly been a lot of studies and popular articles suggesting that sitting is our downfall. Instead of effective messages about diet and health that science actually knows to be true, “members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting,” the team writes, “and many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise. This false perception is rooted in the Food Industry’s Public Relations machinery, which uses tactics chillingly similar to those of big tobacco.”
What we know to be true is much simpler: “Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger,” the write. “Fat calories induce fullness or satiation.” For every additional 150 calories in sugar (i.e., a can of soda) a person consumes per day, the risk for diabetes rises 11-fold, regardless of how much or little we exercise. The single most effective thing people can do for their weight, they write, is to restrict calories – and even more, restrict carbohydrates.
So if this is all true, and research seems to suggest it is, how will it change? It might take quite a lot of work to shift our psychology around food, especially since advertising is so saturated with the message that carbohydrates are good for us. The celebrity endorsements might need to be tweaked, the authors say, and certainly the way foods are advertised and, perhaps, created, need to be shifted. The public should be repeatedly hit with the message that whole, natural foods, where possible and affordable is the best way to go. If you’re trying to lose weight, reduce your calories (especially sugars) – don’t think exercise alone will cut it. And even if you’re normal weight, you can’t subside solely on junk and stay healthy.
The authors end with this powerful finale: “It is time to wind back the harms caused by the junk food industry’s Public Relations machinery. Let us bust the myth of physical inactivity and obesity. You cannot outrun a bad diet.”
A woman has given birth to a miracle baby seven years after going through the menopause.
47 year old Tess Morten from Reading, Berkshire, had been feeling bloated, tired and sick for several months and her doctors erroneously suspected she might have ovarian cancer. In fact she and her husband were told to “fear the worse”
Tess and her husband, 52-year-old Neil, married in Jamaica in 2003 and immediately began making plans to add to their family but years into their marriage, they still could not conceive. To make matters worse, Tess stopped ovulating and went into early menopause. She started Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) to counter the terrible hot flushes she was getting as a result of the menopause.
But in spite of the HRT and three IVF attempts that cost more than £20,000 in total, the couple were no where near conceiving so they gave up up on having a child of their own.
To ease their pain, the couple became foster parents and took in three children.
But last year, Tess started to feel unwell and made her appointment with her doctors who referred her to specialists who feared she might be suffering the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
A routine examination scan however, revealed that she was pregnant.
She told reporters: ‘The hospital doctor was looking at the monitor as he rolled the scanner over my stomach and said, “Your ovaries are fine but look at this.”
‘I looked at the screen and could see a baby. I said, “Is this mine?”
‘The nurse was holding my hand because I was scared it was bad news. I cried because I never thought it would happen to me.’ “I was stunned because I had been through the menopause and didn’t think it was possible. I feel I’ve been blessed.’ She added.
In January this year, she gave birth to Molly at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, who came out weighing healthy 7lb 14oz.
FACTS ABOUT THE MENOPAUSE
The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally.
In the UK, the average age is 51, but for 1 in 100 women this happens before the age of 40.
Symptoms include flushes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, anxiety or reduced libido.
These can kick in months before periods stop.
HRT is normally taken after a woman has gone through the menopause and is unable to conceive.
However, fertility doctors believe in rare cases it is possible that the hormones in the medication can cause the ovaries to release a few last eggs.
Former Olympics Minister Dame Tessa Jowell has been diagnosed with brain cancer, her family have revealed.
Her daughter-in-law Ella Woodward posted on social media that the Labour peer was diagnosed in May.
Writing on Dame Tessa’s 70th birthday, she described the last few months as “some of the hardest of our lives”.
The politician, who stood down as an MP in 2015, responded by tweeting her thanks for the “love and support” she had been shown.
Ms Woodward, a food blogger who is married to the politician’s son Matt Mills, wrote on Instagram: “Matt’s Mum was suddenly diagnosed with brain cancer in May.
“Her bravery, optimism, love and support for others during this process has inspired us both so much, and today we’re all pledging to try and do everything we can to make people’s lives with cancer better for longer.
✔@TessaJowell Thank you for so much love and support on my birthday. More people living longer better lives with cancer is my birthday pledge
“I’m sure so many of you have had to deal with this process too, and Matt and I will work to find new ways of supporting and enhancing people’s lives who have been affected.”
Tessa Jowell’s career
The Labour peer was first elected to Parliament in 1992. She became culture secretary from 2001 until 2007 and later served as paymaster general. During Tony Blair’s administration, she served as the Minister for the Olympics and played a major role in ensuring the coming of the Games to London. She was known as one of Mr Blair’s most ardent supporters.
In 2012, she was made a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
She stood down as an MP at the 2015 general election
Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “Our hearts go out to Tessa Jowell and her family after being diagnosed with a high grade brain tumour.
“And we applaud her pledge on her 70th birthday to help people whose lives are turned upside down by this devastating disease.”
Facts about Brain Cancer & Tumours
Tumors composed of cancer cells are called malignant tumors, and those composed of mainly noncancerous cells are called benign tumors.
Cancer cells that develop from brain tissue are called primary brain tumors while tumors that spread from other body sites to the brain are termed metastatic or secondary brain tumors.
Brain tumour research is under-funded in the UK and the public, in general, is unaware of the magnitude of the problem.
Brain tumours have recently overtaken leukaemia as the most common malignancy and cause of death in children.
Lack of funding and research into the treatment of aggressive malignant brain tumours means survival rates are no better than they were 40 years ago.
The cure rate for most brain tumours is significantly lower than that for most other types of cancer.
Because of their location at the control centre for thought, emotion and physical function, brain tumours are difficult to treat.
Approximately only one third of patients survive for five years following the diagnosis of a primary or malignant brain tumour.
Around 9,000 new cases of primary brain tumours are diagnosed in the UK each year. Across Yorkshire and the Humber we estimate there are 1,000 patients diagnosed each year, around 50 of these will be children.
Brain tumours are the second most common cause of neurological death (stroke is the most common).
Currently, brain tumours cannot be prevented because their cause is still unknown.
Many tumours seen in adult patients are distinct and infrequently seen in children.
There are over 120 different types of brain tumours, making effective treatment very complicated.
Brain tumours are currently treated by surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Brain tumours are the second fastest growing cause of cancer death among those over age 65, and unlike the first and third fastest growing causes (lung cancer and melanoma), no behavioural change has been shown to reduce the risk.
Research is progressing into a number of new areas such as oncogenes (the presence of special genes in our cells that may be associated with cancer) and the abnormal production of specialised growth factors.
Diagnosing Brain Tumours – Symptoms
People with a brain tumor may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with a brain tumor do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be another medical condition that is not a brain tumor.
Symptoms of a brain tumor can be general or specific. A general symptom is caused by the pressure of the tumor on the brain or spinal cord. Specific symptoms are caused when a specific part of the brain is not working well because of the tumor. For many people with a brain tumor, they were diagnosed when they went to the doctor after experiencing a problem, such as a headache or other changes.
General symptoms include:
Headaches, which may be severe and worsen with activity or in the early morning
Seizures. Motor seizures, also called convulsions, are sudden involuntary movements of a person’s muscles. People may experience different types of seizures, including myclonic and tonic-clonic (grand mal). Certain drugs can help prevent or control them. The differences between these types of seizures are listed below:
Single or multiple muscle twitches, jerks, spasms
Tonic-Clonic (Grand Mal)
Loss of consciousness and body tone, followed by twitching and relaxing muscles that are called contractions
Loss of control of body functions
May be a short 30-second period of no breathing and a person may turn a shade of blue
After this type of seizure a person may be sleepy and experience a headache, confusion, weakness, numbness, and sore muscles.
Change in sensation, vision, smell, and/or hearing without losing consciousness
May cause a loss of awareness or a partial or total loss of consciousness
May be associated with repetitive, unintentional movements, such as twitching
Personality or memory changes
Nausea or vomiting
Changes in ability to walk or perform daily activities
Symptoms that may be specific to the location of the tumor include:
Pressure or headache near the tumor
Loss of balance and difficulty with fine motor skills is linked with a tumor in the cerebellum.
Changes in judgment, including loss of initiative, sluggishness, and muscle weakness or paralysis is associated with a tumor in the frontal lobe of the cerebrum.
Partial or complete loss of vision is caused by a tumor in the occipital lobe or temporal lobe of the cerebrum.
Changes in speech, hearing, memory, or emotional state, such as aggressiveness and problems understanding or retrieving words can develop from a tumor in the frontal and temporal lobe of the cerebrum.
Altered perception of touch or pressure, arm or leg weakness on 1 side of the body, or confusion with left and right sides of the body are linked to a tumor in the frontal or parietal lobe of the cerebrum.
Inability to look upward can be caused by a pineal gland tumor.
Lactation, which is the secretion of breast milk and altered menstrual periods in women, and growth in hands and feet in adults are associated with a pituitary tumor.
Difficulty swallowing, facial weakness or numbness, or double vision is a symptom of a tumor in the brain stem.
Vision changes, including loss of part of the vision or double vision can be from a tumor in the temporal lobe, occipital lobe, or brain stem.
If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.
If a brain tumor is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of your care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms. Learn more about managing symptoms of a brain tumor in the Treatment Options section.
A man is in a critical condition in hospital after a man reportedly collapsed at a gym in Bexleyheath.
Police were called to Better Gym in Bexleyheath Broadway at about 7.25am to reports of a man in cardiac arrest.
Police and the London Ambulance Service attended and the man, aged in his 30s, was taken to a south London hospital in a critical condition.
The incident is not being treated as suspicious.
The Health and Safety Executive has been informed.
Sudden cardiac arrest means the heart abruptly and unexpectedly stops working. It can occur in a person with or without known heart disease. Possible causes include a structural or electrical problem with the heart; dehydration; a serious imbalance of potassium, magnesium, or other minerals in the blood; an inherited condition; or a blow to the chest.
Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, which is caused by an artery blockage that stops blood flow to the heart. A heart attack can kill part of the heart’s muscle but isn’t necessarily fatal.
However, a heart attack can trigger a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system, which can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. In most of these cases, the heart’s lower chambers beat fast and chaotically, a condition known as ventricular fibrillation. Circulation stops, and death occurs in minutes.
For the study published in the April 21, 2015, issue of Circulation, researchers reviewed 1,247 cases of sudden cardiac arrest in middle-aged men and women over an 11-year period. Of the 63 cases of cardiac arrest that occurred during exercise, most occurred in men, most of whom were jogging, playing basketball, or cycling.
Watch for early warning signs
Two-thirds of these people had known heart disease. In fact, nearly one-third of them had experienced typical cardiovascular symptoms such as chest pain and breathlessness during the week before the sudden cardiac arrest. But the exercisers were twice as likely to survive than people with cardiac arrest from all other causes, probably because they were in public places and more likely to receive quick treatment from a bystander.
In addition to the reassurance that exercise-related cardiac arrest is rare, the study’s other important message is that heart disease often gives warning signs, says Dr. Baggish.
If you feel any chest pain during exercise, have difficulty breathing, or even feel more drained than usual, stop and call a doctor for advice.
Recognizing and reacting to cardiac arrest
Someone having a cardiac arrest
suddenly faints or collapses
has no pulse
may have twitching muscles.
If you witness someone collapse from what appears to be cardiac arrest:
Call 911 right away. The sooner professional help arrives,
Start “hands only” CPR. Push hard and fast (about 100 times a minute if you can) on the middle of the person’s chest. This keeps blood flowing to the brain and the rest of the body. If you aren’t in a public place with a defibrillator handy, keep doing CPR until emergency help arrives. Swap off with a partner if needed.
Use a defibrillator. If you are in a public place such as a fitness center or airport, ask a bystander to find the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED). These user-friendly devices have step-by-step visual and voice prompts that tell you how to use them correctly. An AED shocks the heart out of its deadly rhythm and back to normal.
Now that President Buhari has had first hand experience of the great headaches and troubles that can come from leaving the country to receive treatment abroad, he must now make the implementation of quality medical facilities throughout the country his administration’s No 2 priority – after combating serious corruption which is the legacy of Jonathan’s administration.
It is a great shame and a matter of great embarrassment not to talk of massive disgrace that the Head of any nation will stay up to three months (not being sick) receiving medical treatment outside of his own country!!! Can you imagine the Queen of England or even PM Theresa May or indeed any of the UK MPs leaving the country for any amount of time for medical treatment??
Any Nigerian “RICH MAN” boasting that he is travelling abroad for medical check up from now on, should feel highly ashamed to say that out loud and for daring to admit that his country does not have qualified enough doctors or adequate medical centres to treat him. And such folks must be publicly named and shamed.
This is the 21st century. 2017 for God’s sake!!! but it is most disgraceful that we are yet unable to boast of anything more than jungle class health and medical care! And the few quality ones that do exist are owned by Asians who make money from us and take back to invest in their own country!!
Just when are we going time start using our brains for good instead of on flimsy unnecessary things?
NIGERIA HAS MORE WORLD CLASS EVENT CENTRES, HOTELS AND CHURCHES THAN GOOD SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS!!!
And when I think of the likes of Ogun State governor Amosun sinking billions into building overhead bridges for none other than cosmetic rather than any terribly practical reasons, I just want to scream!
Just how much wrongly can we place our priorities?
Many ordinary Nigerians would rather self diagnose and self medicate than present themselves to any hospital for many reasons. First being the highly exorbitant and unjustifiable fees charged by these establishments. Secondly, you can never really be sure of the kind of treatment you’re getting or if you’re going to get the right diagnosis. My late dad was for years, misdiagnosed and mistreated for piles by the combined highly unbelievable ignorance of doctors at OSUTH, UCH and LUTH when he was actually in stage 2 rectal cancer. By the time he was eventually correctly diagnosed, he was given 3 years of remaining life span…but he was gone in 3 months!!!
He was only 59.
If there were adequate and reliable diagnosis technicians, my dad might have had a chance. I wanted to bring him over to the UK but my dad had a seriously misplaced trust in the Nigerian medical system and that unfortunately cost him his life.
Many hospitals and so called private establishments you visit are themselves, breeding ground for germs and diseases. The poor hygiene and sanitation in some healtcare centres will make you choose to stay at home and treat yourself. And many of the healthcare personnel are just so rude, ignorant, uncaring and downright unfit for the job. You could practically be dying in front of a so called doctor but unless you “cough” up tens of thousands of Naira for a registration card, you are on your own and nobody will administer as little as basic first aid that can save your life on you.
Many Nigerians simply ignore various warning signs to their health rather than face the stress and aggro at the hospital…and by the time they decide to drag themselves down, it is often too late.
And more saddening, many, rather than visit a medical practitioner for adequate and necessary medical attention, will choose to visit their pastor and faith healer for prayers. As a Christian, I have absolute faith in the power of prayers – but I strongly admit that you first and foremost need to visit your doctor who can tell exactly what is wrong with you and what course of action is necessary. This, is where faith comes to play whereby you pray that whatever course of medical intervention is prescribed is effective and does what it is expected to do.
Many people have unfortunately lost their lives because they have been wrongly told by a faith healer to stop taking their prescribed medication
Nigeria boasts of some of the best Medical Colleges in the world that train highly gifted medical practitioners. But the country lacks the kind of quality establishments these doctors can practice in, which is why hoardes of them leave the country annually to practice where their skills could be best utilised. The UK has an unbelievable number of Nigerian trained doctors, surgeons and consultants working in different his all overAnd that is a great shame.
According to UNICEF, every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world.
Underneath the statistics lies the pain of human tragedy, for thousands of families who have lost their children. Even more devastating is the knowledge that, according to recent research, essential interventions reaching women and babies on time would have averted most of these deaths.
In other words these unfortunate deaths are directly attributable to lack of adequate medical intervention caused either by misdiagnosis or delay in seeking medical help due to high fees.
In the early 80s free healthcare was introduced in many states of the country particularly what used to be the Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and Ondo states and these also saw the establishment of State Hospitals where you could attend and receive quality attention for any medical need including maternity care. But these establishments have been pointedly abandoned by subsequent administrations and leaderships and the level of care you can expect to receive at these centres is close to zero. The buildings are old and dilapidated and whatever the quality of staff working there, only have equipment from last century to work with. Not forgetting the lack of electricity and running water.
And if you are unlucky to require treatment with injections, drips or wound dressings, you will need to get them by yourself. You will hardly find as much as a plaster in any of these “State Hospitals”
And if your condition requires admission to a ward at these hospitals, I’m informed that you will need to bring along your own mattress and pillow – or you end up on the floor (this is either due to overcrowding or simple lack of beds) and until a member of your family goes out to source for the medication for your treatment including syringes, drips and steriles, you are simply ignored or just left to die!
The embarrassing condition of state hospitals in Nigeria is what gave rise to Private Hospitals run by quacks, but many of these are simply not much better than the state hospitals in that they may prescribe your medication and treat you but these often do not go beyond the humble saline drip, panadol, folic acid, vitamin c and the most common of anti-biotics which are all routinely prescribed for every ailment from malaria to typhoid fever to diabetes at highly exorbitant fees!
The big name, posh building private hospitals in Lagos or other parts of the country are simply posh versions of the small private hospital where the treatment is not much better except you get cleaner waiting and consulting rooms and the nurses speak a bit more politely in better English. many of these have highly sohisticated second hand machines brought in from Europe that have never been installed, have broken down or have no-one who actually knows how to operate them.
We now know that Nigeria is far from being a poor nation. Recent revelations have taught us that. Otherwise, the likes of Patience, Diezani, Dasuki, Yakubu etc would not have been able to lay their hands on such obscene amounts of raw cash! And Saraki and his band of “unarmed robbers” as former President Obasanjo referred to them, would not be able to award themselves such eye-watering salaries and allowances for their part-time or zero-hours job in the Senate!
Such funds like those recently recovered from the political thieves can be entrusted to a Federal Task Force with the responsibility of establishing General Hospitals across the states of the federation, or taking over the old ones and restoring or refurbishing them and stocking them with state of the art amenities and drugs. Private citizens, the civil service and private sector employers could be taxed for the upkeep and use of the services, through obligatory monthly contributions – a bit like the NHS – and details of beneficiaries uploaded into a central database whereby patients can be easily identified whenever they turn up for medical attention. Anyone turning up for treatment but has not paid into the pot, will pay a higher premium at point of delivery and top up payments required for more serious conditions or surgeries. Of course these will be subsidized by the government so that it is still affordable by ordinary citizens.
I understand that a similar program was launched by the Jonathan administration in 2005 to much fanfare with a 10 year schedule of the achievement of universal coverage. very little surprise, that project has gone down the proverbial pan. The NHIS as it was called, was never properly governed and is staffed by officials who have very little interest in the organisation. The organisation itself has never been accountable to the Nigerian community.
The cost of treating the President in the UK will have run into hundreds of thousands of pounds because the NHS would not have treated him for free. And even if he had gone private, that would not have been cheap at all.
If this huge amount was converted into local currency, just imagine how many malaria treatments or how many hospital beds and properly trained nurses it could have paid for.
And let’s also imagine what a great legacy it will be for President Mohammadu Buhari – the great revolution of the Nigerian Health System.