Matthew is dead. Or did he really die? Can anyone say with certainty that he died before he was buried 6 feet under mother earth?
We will never know.
I fear we have lost Lona too. She agreed to family planning and child spacing before – against her husband – Mark’s wishes.
Mark figures that the more children he has, the better for his farm and family prosperity. Mark constantly bemoans the cost of paying farmhands to work on large tracts of land; manually cultivating yams. He married Lona after his first wife’s first child died and she gave birth to a sickly second child.
Lona looks lost and overwhelmed. Despite her best efforts, Matthew died. Now, she must get pregnant as soon as possible or risk her husband’s wrath.
But, her story is not peculiar. They had rushed Matthew to the hospital. After three days, with no improvements, they were referred to the FMC. There was no ambulance provision to convey them to the FMC…
Mark borrowed money to pay the bills in the first hospital… and while arranging for transport, the child died.
Or so they thought. There was no confirmation of death. They did not stop to think that perhaps the child only fainted , was in a coma or any of the other medically plausible reasons that could make a person stop breathing even while still alive.
They simply went home and buried the child.
When I heard this story, I was furious; I wanted to slap everyone – the parents and relatives that buried the child; without reaching FMC – at least to confirm that truly Matthew died.
Until I looked at grieving Lona and realised that without education, I could have been Lona.
There is a Lona in every girl child. Only education and opportunities make the difference.
Lona cannot read and write and does not have a phone. At the moment, she only gets beneficial health information from rare contacts with healthcare workers visiting the village.
I can cry for Lona, cry with her, speak words of comfort but at the end of the day, that is not much help. So, what did I do?
I calmed down quickly and resolved to continue with advocacy for #UHC4AllNigerians which is a subset of the #HealthForAll goal; to keep advocating for and working for much needed changes; one community at a time.
This was originally published as an entry(minor edits) for the #Wink challenge on :