November 10, 2013
I remembered how loud the bomb explosions and gunshots sounded. The sound was so loud, and I became terrified, so I hid in a dark corner of the building I was before the incident started.
To make things worse, it was totally dark, and I couldn’t even see my fingers or what’s beside me except when flashes were resulting from the explosions.
I shivered as they kept exchanging gunshots and each time another bomb explodes, I panicked even more. I held onto my breath that differentiated me from the lifeless bodies around.
I have never been as scared as I was throughout my nomadic life. In my state of fear, I arrived at the conclusion that I will not allow any of my siblings to go into the military. “Not even close to that”; I said as I still hid in the corner.
Then there was some silence, except for my heartbeat. My heart was beating so fast and loud; that alone can scare someone close by. It was a relief, and so I assured myself that everything is over, but the loud, odd sound of the evacuation alarm made it even worst.
In an attempt to flee the area, I missed a step and somersaulted. I sustained an injury on my forehead but still managed to get up as blood started oozing out. I realized that I actually hit a dead body; that’s why I fell.
We were evacuated to an area far more secure than the place we left. There, I kept putting more pressure on the wound to stop the blood from gushing out, but all the attempts were in vain, as my face became completely covered in blood.
As a result of that, I became dizzy and fell down again, and just about to finally give up on life, I managed to open my eyes.
It was not blood, I was completely soaked in my own sweat, so I was relieved.
It was actually a dream!
Still lying in bed shivering like a wet chicken exposed to the cold, dry harmattan weather, I managed to reach out and switched on the light. At that moment, the nagging headache that has been disturbing me for some days came back.
It was Malaria, precisely what the blood test I had earlier showed.
If you’ve had Malaria, you will know that this dream is not an exaggeration, rather an expression of what is going on in your entire body.
Malaria can be a life-threatening sickness that can result in the loss of life or severe sickness. I even lost a friend to Malaria not long ago, and it’s so sad.
Malaria is endemic in Nigeria, and almost everyone is carrying the virus. Statistics by International health bodies ranked Malaria as one of the top three killers of children in Africa; where a child is estimated to die every minute. What a pity but a sad reality!
Malaria is a real problem affecting both the rich and the poor, but the economic burden is more on the poor.
This really made me cry. I cried not because I was sick, no! But I cried because of all the benefits I could access which are capable of making me get better in the shortest while possible, but millions in Nigeria lack.
The elite rush abroad to receive medical care for the slightest sign of stress. They can’t endure a sickness that the masses are enduring, not to talk of illnesses that are killing us.
Believe it or not, this is a big problem that needs urgent attention, because if not for anything; human lives are involved.
It’s about the lives and well-being of our parents, our relations, our children and ourselves.
So many people are lying sick or have died from illnesses that could have ordinarily been prevented.
Day in, day out we always hope the government may provide all the benefits due to us, but they never did, or it’s never enough to go round. But my challenge here is, must we forever depend on them?
It is time to start thinking of what we can do ourselves as individuals to contribute to our betterment?
It’s high time for us to find lasting solutions to our health, to our well-being and to our problems.
Today, there is a greater awareness on how to reduce the transmission of the disease; by preventing mosquito bites using mosquito nets and insect repellents, but how many of us can afford those?
People have more significant roles to play in eradicating Malaria. For instance, by keeping our surroundings clean, by cleaning our drainages to avoid stagnant water, by clearing the grasses and the bushes around, and by other healthy habits.
Until a lasting solution is found, we can do the little we can to help our Nigeria!