Despite the occasional topsy-turvy nature of things, and the turbulence we often experience, I refuse to give up on Nigeria. This is our own dear native land, and no other place can truly be called home.
You can live here and be at peace. That peace will eventually come, by force, if necessary. It is what is called Lafiya Dole in Hausa. Peace by force.
You can live here and prosper. The land flows with milk and honey. It is our own Canaan. Just work hard, work smart, and leave the rest to God.
You can live in Nigeria and be fulfilled. The ravening clouds, at a certain time, shall no longer be victorious, they shall no longer possess the sky.
But what was it that rekindled my faith in Nigeria once again recently? At the invitation of a dear friend, I took a trip to Port Harcourt, where I was cheerfully hosted by management and staff of a world class healthcare facility, the Save A Life Mission Hospital.
Dr Richard Okoye, the Chief Medical Director, and his crew of top flight professionals run an eye-popping hospital that you would never think existed in Nigeria. No, not in Africa, except perhaps South Africa. But there, right in the heart of what is called the Garden City, sits the hospital, regal, imposing, resplendent.
You would think you were in a five star hotel in the best cities in the world. Where was the usual rancid hospital smell? Not there. Where was the heaviness in the air, that made you sicker, rather than be on the road to wellness? Not present. Where were the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers that responded to you reluctantly, even rudely, with that look in their eyes that quietly told you to buzz off, go home, and die quietly? Not there. Come and see, American wonder, come and see, American wonder. That was a song we sang as kids. But this was Nigerian wonder. Come and see, Nigerian wonder, come and see Nigerian wonder.
Like every young doctor, Richard Okoye had his sights on working abroad after graduating. But God told him: stay here with your people, and salvage your country together. And it is working. Like a dream.
Beware of what you dream of. It may well come to pass. Okoye envisioned a world class hospital in Nigeria, and today, he has it not only in Port Harcourt, but also in Aba, Onitsha, Owerri, with his eyes still set on other cities, and to the uttermost parts of Africa.
You guessed right. From the name, there is something missionary about the hospital. It is not entirely about commerce, cash and carry. The primary aim is to save a life, every life, and money is secondary. And what do they have on offer?
First, the vision: to make Nigeria a global healthcare destination through provision of world-class healthcare services powered by superior technology in medicine.
And the mission? To bring healthcare of international standards within the reach of every individual in Africa.
To bring expertise and hospitality in the atmosphere of God’s presence/healing.
What do they have on offer in the 150 bedded hospital? Multi specialty diagnostic and specialist procedures, ranging from fertility to obstetrics and gynecology, kidney dialysis/transplant, cancer treatment, surgeries using the latest technology in medicine. With the aid of satellite enabled telemedicine technology, you can have a live consultation with world best specialists abroad, right from Nigeria. And on ground are also specialists from different parts of the world.
I was impressed by the services offered. Comprehensive fertility diagnosis and treatment. Epidural analgesia. What does that mean in English? I mean in day to day language? Painless labour. Just smile home with your baby without labour pains. Scarless, bloodless removal of fibroids, ovarian cysts, gallbladder stones, intestinal tumors, ulcers, with average of 24 to 48 hours hospital stay. And then, wait for this: When there is weakness in ‘the other room,’ and power failure occurs more frequently than you wish, Save A Life Mission Hospital can save a life. There’s the ED 1000 Machine, which treats the cause, and not just the symptoms of weak erection. It is the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Pediatric care, laser eye treatment, plastic/ cosmetic surgery, orthopedic cases, emergency land and air ambulance services, and many others, are on offer.
It is generally said that health is wealth. Dr Okoye does not agree completely. Hear him: “ No! Health is not wealth; it is your life. If you lose money, you lose something, but if you lose your health, you lose everything…You don’t need things to enjoy life, you need life to enjoy things. Your health is your most valuable property on earth, give it the best that is available. Your prosperity stops where your health stops.”
The hospital has the amazing story of Mrs Samba Briggs, the first over 60 years old woman to give birth to triplets. Her husband is 70 years old, and they never had children. Today, they’ve been assisted to have triplets after 33 years of marriage.
Despite the strides being taken already, Dr Okoye has an ace up his sleeves. What is it? A medical app, which is on the way. It is called drsavealifeapp, and the features include quick diagnosis, which gives accurate health assessment, step by step advice on how to respond in emergency situations, medical encyclopedia, a reminder to take prescription drugs, ability to check the authenticity, manufacture and expiry dates of drugs, your medical records at the touch of a button, and many others. Surely, a medical revolution is on the way for Nigerians.
Do you see why we are incurable believers in Nigeria? A country where we can do things differently, and get different results. That is where President Muhammadu Buhari is leading us to, and we will surely get there, despite all distractions.
By the way, how did Dr Okoye assemble all those pretty nurses? When such attend to you, healing will come at the speed of light. But will some men then want to be quickly discharged after being touched by angels?
I didn’t tell my wife about the pretty nurses when I got home. Shhhhh. It’s our little secret.
.Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari.