Popular and hansome Igbo gospel artist Chinedu Nwadike succumbed to the cold hands of death on 27th March, 2022 at the prime age of 39. He left behind a young widow and two kids. Until his death, the “Oku Gbajie Aka Ji Ngozi M” crooner was diagnosed of the twin malady of Kidney failure and Leukemia. For several weeks he painfully agonised under that sick condition at the National Hospital, Abuja until he perhaps found out that the hospital does not have the capacity to handle his case or that they out of “genuine medical professionalism” graciously referred him to a better hospital abroad. This was after he had cried out to the Nigerian public for support and for financial assistance.
Unfortunately, he died days after he was granted Visa to India for his treatment.
The simple fact that the National Hospital is not competent enough to handle cancerous patients is a national shame and embarrassment. We have consultants all over the places, but what is that specific disease only Nigerian hospitals and doctors are known experts which could attracts global referrals?
The integrity to refer patients quickly to better hospitals by Nigerian doctors is one of those challenges facing the health system. They will continue to pretend and try until things get out of hand. Some even pick offence when offered meaningful advise and suggestions. With the benefit of hinsight I understood that it is appointed once for man to die, however, my personal opinion on this matter is that his demise has once again revealed the disfunctional level and sorry state of Nigeria’s health system.
It is assumed that musicians and movie actors/actresses are rich and wealthy set of individuals on account of the opulence and afflluence associated with their music videos and movies. However, with the death of Chinedu and many others in the entertainment industry who had asked for public assistance; these people barely eke a living out of the smiles they put on our faces. Worse still, the gospel music subsector of the industry seems to be struggling to survive unlike its secular music counterpart. Generally, there seems to be drought; if not Chinedu and others like him would not have resorted to the public for support. The entertainment industry in Nigeria needs to be repositioned to properly cater for its employees and stakeholders. It is ironic for a man surrounded by opulence in a music video or movies to die a pauper. Do they have any life assurance or insurance?
The Turai Yardua’s Cancer Center along Airport Road, Abuja was commissioned in 2007 to find permanent solutions to cases like that of late Chinedu. However, it was abandoned immediately former President Yardua who was said to also have had cancer passed on. The centre as the name implies is a specialised health hub for new technology and innovations in medicines and remedies for cancer related issues. That project was left to rot and currently provided safe havens for probably only the old security man and uncountable insects, reptiles and or criminal elements. That Centre if one could remember vividly attracted huge donations of the timber and caliber in the society angling to be in the good books of Yardua when he was alive. However, the ugly state of that centre did not only reveal in totality the high level of sycophancy people exhibit in the society but our unwillingness to take matters of health seriously.
According to Vanguard report; “statistics provided by the World Health Organisation’s 2020 report shows that cancer tops the list of killer diseases with nearly 10 million deaths. Nigeria has one of the highest cancer mortality rates in the world, with approximately four out of five cases resulting in death, according to the Global Cancer Observatory. There is lack or no efficient public policy on cancer issues in Nigeria where about 10,000 cancer deaths are recorded annually with 250,000 new cases recorded yearly.”
Uche Nwosu, Ifeanyi Ararume and others should be commended for visiting Chinedu and for lend a helping hand before his exit. The promises made have to be fulfilled despite the unfortunate incident. Nigerians who had offered prayers in their closets and those who contributed financially to save the life of the singer did not work in vain. The death of Chinedu has once again opened another unending conversation about the deteriorated state of our health sector. It has shown how unserious a nation which allocates only N820 billion for health, which represents 5% of the N16.39 trillion of 2022 Appropriation Bill is. Moreover, this is the fate of a nation which allocates over N4bn annually for Aso Rock Presidential Clinic but treats the president abroad. Is the nation under a kind of rare governance spell?
The stark reality of the unfortunate but abandoned state of health system in Nigeria should form the major part of 2023 campaign issues. While Buhari, politicians and the well to do in Nigeria junket overseas for treatment of malaria and ear problems; they purposely left our local hospitals in a state of coma and total decay.
Chinedu was a public figure to have caught the attention of many Nigerians. There are many unknown cases of cancer deaths and even worst case disease scenarios owing to the neglect of our health care systems. His death will not be the last in a nation governed by ruthless, sycophantic, unpatriotic political jobbers. These same politicians who kept us in this messy state are holding nocturnal meetings ahead of the 2023 elections to sell the same old fat lies. Meaningful conversations on functional health system must drive the social contract between the political office seekers and the people. It has to sit on top of the agenda for voting in 2023 elections so that more Chinedus will not die. May the soul of Chinedu and other faithful departed find rest in the bossom of the Lord.
Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a Media and Development Communication Specialist writes via email@example.com and can be reached on 08060901201