What Difference Does Affordable Medical Care Make? One Family’s Story…
Here is a story of the effects of the pandemic on the economic prospects of people who were living on the margins before the crisis. Many people must choose between buying food and going to a doctor. They cannot afford both. This is the story of the people we serve. It could be retold 10,000 times with different names and faces and medical details. This is the difference your donations make.
A PARISHIONER WITH A TWIN CALAMITY
By Rev. Dr. Olaniyi Olaobaju
It was a wet Wednesday night at about 8 o’clock. I was driving back to St. Thomas Clinic, when my phone rang and I looked at the screen. It was the Rev. Friday Amaechi, a fellow clergyman pastoring the Royal Youth Anglican Church. After the usual greetings, I said: “Hope all is well?” “No, all is not well. I am presently with one of my parishioners who has been down now for a couple of weeks and the family refuses to take her to the clinic because they have little money.”
“I am on my way to the clinic now. You can bring her over,” I told him. In about 15 minutes, the security guard opened wide the gate for a keke, a tricycle and the most common means of transportation in Nigeria. The minister stepped out with the frail looking. Middle-aged woman, assisted by a man holding her by the waist as the came into the reception. Thankfully, the matron and other nurses on duty rushed to their aid. Immediately her vitals were taken and she was directed to the consulting room with her folder.
She was so weak that she couldn’t even talk. “What happened to her?” I asked the husband. He explained that she had been ill for quite a while with pains on the left side of her abdomen, vomiting and a high grade fever. She could hardly eat anything and when she did, within seconds she vomited. And for the past two days, she was not able to urinate. On examination, she was chronically ill-looking wasted), in painful distress, pale, dehydrated and with edema. I immediately ordered that she be admitted with a routine array of tests.
The pastor called me aside and started speaking with me in hushed tone. “Sir, please don’t be annoyed with me. I need to share this with you. The husband of this woman has been out of work since the beginning of the pandemic and it is the woman who has been helping with the small amount she makes from what she sells in the front of their house. I was the one who insisted on taking her to the hospital. They have been taking all manner of native concoctions since the onset of her problems.” “So what do you want us to do?” I asked. The husband joined in the plea, with tears rolling down his face. “Please save my wife. She is all I’ve got. I don’t know why God put this double calamity on me. I have lost my job. Will I also lose my wife, who has been sustaining me?” I assured him that we would do our best for his wife even if they cannot afford the bill. We are committed to bringing accessible healthcare to the needy with help from Kateri Medical Services. The result of the tests showed that the woman had HIVAN-HIV with associated nephropathy. We immediately placed her on necessary medication and infusions. Within a couple of days, her face looked brighter and she was able to start communicating with us. We discussed with the couple the need to start ART (antiretroviral therapy) and pay attention to their health.