369 views | Farouk Martins Aresa | April 3, 2020
Political and businessmen of timber and calibre are back into African Teaching Hospitals they had ignored until the Coronavirus pandemic. This is what it takes to realize they have been patronizing the wrong hospitals overseas at the risk of their health.
Many of the African University Teaching Hospitals are well equipped and staffed by the best talents in the world. If they do not have a speciality or the doctor you want, she could be flown in. Yet, African Heads of State ignored and underfunded them so that they could patronize overseas countries with similar talents or with fewer skills.
Those who anticipate the future usually plan, not only for themselves but for the children that would benefit from their foresight. We now realize that we have to also plan within our communities that are within our control to be beneficial to all. This COVID-19 exposed the flaw in selfish gratification that money can buy you everything. You can only reap what you sow at home.
Many African leaders always pledge to build good hospitals and schools but we know none of these crucial institutions was good enough for them or their families for use. They left the good ones they met unmaintained as many deteriorated. They can always waste their countries’ resources to get the most expensive care they want and train their kids abroad because they can. The serious issue before COVID-19 has turned to jokes on them.
Coronavirus fear overrode their greed for African loot. Realizing discrimination in the healthcare system against the poor and those squandering loot and talents, it prompted reaction during the Presidential campaign by Bernie Sanders. If this type of discrimination is left unchallenged, poor and working-class Africans would suffer the same fate as they seek treatment anywhere.
Some Africans living overseas are still blindly propagating ignorance to the massive demonstration in defiance of authority against unequal treatment and neglect, not only in COVID-19 lockdown but during Ebola. Even frontline health care workers are speaking out to persuade and inform the public of the indifference to their health risk at work.
We see how healthcare and treatment became a priority for the young and the rich that can afford special care while the old are left untreated only to die like animals. This is not new, circumstances brought it to the forefront. However, many overseas countries claim they have universal medical care. Since the old and minorities are part of the universe, they must be included in their hospital treatment.
The exorbitant amount paid by African leaders on a single trip was more than enough to build a virgin Teaching Hospital in South Sudan for all. Suddenly, African leaders have realized the need for first-class Hospital and Convalescent Centers even if built in South Sudan after many Presidential planes carrying Head of States were refused touchdown. Most reasons are headache, stomachache, blood tests and medical checkups that could be done anywhere.
Nobody remains young forever. COVID-19 turned the young and the restless leaders, politicians, businessmen and women of yesterday into elders of today. While they stuffed their retirement nest eggs with money, they neglected senior or geriatric care in their own countries. They rely on the hospitals where they have no rights, accessibility, control compared to what they have as privilege and political clout at home.
If that is not foolishness, it is self-hate. This and other diseases will challenge the vulnerability of old age when our immune system is weaker and less able to fight off diseases as we did in younger age. COVID-19 has tuned more of those over the age of 50 into self-isolation like those with existing medical conditions like diabetes, emphysema, asthma, lupus etc.
Overseas countries will not open their best Medical Centers to African leaders unwilling to pay for their treatment. It is in the interest of the Governments to make as much money from African leaders to defray the cost and subsidized healthcare overseas. Money needed at home to retain our medical and engineering talents needed for infrastructure.
Indeed, one of the main feats in medical history is the construction of sewage systems by Engineers in the 19th century to prevent common infectious diseases. Cleaners are now worldly celebrated and protected as doctors and nurses needed in this period of greater need. If you cannot pay them in foreign economies, appreciate and treat them well.
We know some countries dangle visas in time of need to attract Investments of large deposits of money and talents; only to find ways of kicking them out at the end of their contracts, “temporary” visas and by Naturalization Reviews of those that considered themselves full citizens. They see their fellow humans as disposable items: contractors or casual workers hustling for any job when their visas expire.
Encourage Health Workers who are always at the forefront and in close proximity to those infected by diseases, with or without a pandemic. They are driven by duty to serve, save and protect lives. However, they are not paid according to our useful duties in time of war or epidemic. If that is the case, soldiers and health workers fighting wars should become millionaires and billionaires, not the businessmen or politicians.
Politicians and businessmen must realize the fact that cleaners and roadside mechanics are as useful and deserve the same treatment they seek in Foreign Hospitals, at home. In countries where resident doctors work longer hours than the public realizes in their training, they end up making minimum wages. On top of that, they owe heavy student loans and have to take out insurance against litigious societies. They still come home.
So, one doctor blurted out; “you need medical care, go to your lawyer”. African medical workers can be better accommodated in African countries even if they do not face the heavy burden of foreign doctors that come back home to contribute their talents. Those seeking medical treatment abroad launder money that should be used to provide adequate care for all since everyone has God-given talent to contribute.