Diaries of a young Doctor Episode 4
As a young medical practitioner and a product of the Nigerian educational system, I have always nurtured the thoughts and intention to give back to society as soon as I am ripe for my purpose. Over my past few years of training in medical school and early years of practice my passion to provide free medical care and save lives grew effortlessly. I began to realize there was a rising and urgent need for quality medical services which could only be accessed by less than 20 percent of the population in Nigeria.
The National Health Insurance scheme was birthed to aid at least 70 percent of the populace to access affordable, reliable, transparent healthcare but that hasn’t been achievable to date. Also, I began to realize the act of medicine was premised on selflessness and execution of one’s duty with an expectation of a positive outcome.
In early 2017, I conceived an idea to reciprocate what the system had given me by deciding to provide free medical services and supply to inmates at the Lagos prisons. I took a bold step by visiting the prison headquarters in Ikoyi where I was warmly received by the officer in charge. Without hesitations, I made my intentions known and the proposal was submitted to complement my intentions.
The officer in charge was grateful for the selfless service, issued a letter of approval, and specifically recommended that I focus on the medium-security prisons located in the heart of Apapa. So my journey to the prisons began in March 2017 and over the past years, I have visited the prisons at least twice a year. Each visit involved going with a medical team that includes 3 Medical Doctors, 2 Nurses, a Pharmacist and Myself. Services provided include a free consultation, free drugs, physical examinations, screening, and dental assessment.
All my visits were a huge success but my best outreach took place on the 4th of June 2018 when I was privileged to engage a Dermatologist and Psychiatrist. My team and I were able to attend to at least 250 patients within 3 hours, activities for the day included free medical screening, free drugs, and blood sugar check.
Attending to the inmates brought great joy, a sense of fulfilment of purpose and great achievement. It reflects the true picture of medicine which is an act of selflessness against personal gains and service to humanity. As a true Christian and patriotic Nigerian, I intend to continuously provide service to humanity, affect lives positively and make impacts globally.