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By Ovundah Nyeche. 

Weeks ago I was so hungry at work, that I decided to get a bite somewhere. As I was eating, I was also pondering on things I had left to do, there and then a patient walked in and said something I am still trying to decipher the meaning.

“Doctor you dey chop too?”Iya, afraid catch me, was this a question too? Truth however is that the expectations from the public is usually so much that many times you can burn yourself out trying to meet these expectations.

Not too long later, I got a call from someone, this time a colleague, another colleague was going through a traumatic experience and I was close to this person and I did not know or even see the signs or symptoms. 

After the call, I called the colleague who was going through the traumatic experience, visited, talked with the colleague, offered spiritual support and had the phone number of my colleagues who were Psychiatrists on speed dial, just in case these measures failed.

The mental torture of the doctor starts from medical school. Many times with no guidance from and proper orientation about the medical school, people are thrown into the lion’s den and expected to survive.

From the first day you discover you are on your own, the orientation done by the medical school gives you more fear than hope. ” All of you here looking fine and happy, I assure you that more than half of you will not be doctors, some of you will be thrown out, as a medical student make sure you don’t party, make sure you don’t… Just read you books, you know you are special breeds and we are here to trim you”, the person holding the microphone  says. You are not told where you should run to when you have issues.

And true to his words after the first year exams a lot of people are weeded out. There is no emotional support for these students weeded out and even those still in the programme don’t know what a guidance​ counselor really looks like.

Second year, you prepare for third year where you take your first major MB, other University students know about this and then you read, read, read, attend tutorials, tutorials, tutorials, do mock exams, Pray, Pray, Pray if you believe in prayers and boom the exam comes, a lot of people are weeded out too. Many times the lecturers are actually sad if the pass rate is high. An MB result is not an MB result if there are no failures or waff  ( in English language this means withdrawal from the medical school).

Those that resit or repeat are in a state of torture, brilliant students from secondary school now so insecure, some already frustrated. The same cycle happens till you graduate.

You learn greed, your learn to absorb so much pressure, you learn to be on your own, and to do everything to pass, many times even at expense of your colleagues. You either learn how to hoard or distribute pass questions, depending on which school of thought you belong to. You also learn first hand how to do eye service and you learn how not to let your lecturers know you do anything apart from reading.

You graduate and the rat race continues, prayer point to do house job (Internship), you get the house job and the work load is too much, the psychological demands you go through when you lose patients; you are trained not to vent out, you are in the midst of suffering and you have to behave as though all is well.

Work, work, work, shout, shout, shout and sometimes extension, extension, extension with meagre or no pay. Meanwhile your folks out there think you are a big boy.

Then you are done and  Youth service happens, the Medical officer routine and if you are lucky, residency and then the rat race begins all over again. Work, work, work, marathon calls, exams, no money to pay for a lot of things and then the exam failure, no one “Sends you”,  no support when you fail and when you do not meet the demands, you are thrown out of the programme.

Many times you even complete the programme and discover that the fellowship you have just like a fellowship does not define your life. Like fellowship, you discover that “No be only you waka come and you ask yourself was all this worth it?

Depression is real, many doctors also never visit the psychiatrists or even access healthcare themselves.

And then with the gradual erosion of all forms of social support, with society becoming more westernized, with people learning how to carry burdens alone, with social media taking over family and friends the unexpected happens.

In another news

Somewhere this morning a colleague is all alone, as he faces his battles, if anything happens social media will be agog, but they watched when he swam the river alone.

Physicians heal thyself and be thy brother’s keeper.

Physician seek help and speak out.

Physician think not only about thyself. 

God bless and keep you, do not look another way when you can offer help to someone, do not keep quiet when you need help. 


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Medical Republic

What’s the big deal about kerosene poisoning?




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By Ovundah Nyeche

Many times I jokingly tell my friends I have triplets. Well when you have 3 children which includes twins below the age of 5 what else is that called? Lol

Truly speaking, many times I do my reading and prepare for many of my seminars and presentations at work or even in the library, because once daddy steps inside house na full time work don start.

Remove your eyes from your kids and boom something…

We try our best to keep our home as safe as possible, but with kids, safety is also of the Lord.

Years ago, while doing my NYSC in Ekiti State, an unconscious child was brought into the hospital with a crowd following him.

My duty was to wake up the child by fire or by force, unfortunately, those who brought the child were not giving me any useful information.

How long has this child being unconscious… Today!
Fever… Kosi!
Trauma to the head… Kosi!
Vomiting… Kosi!
Convulsion… Kosi!
Last meal… Recently!

It was obvious my talk was taking me to no where, I had no glucometer to check the child’s blood sugar who was barely 3 years old, I decided to treat as a case of cerebral malaria, and I set up everything.

On a 2nd note, the smell from the child’s mouth was somehow, somehow… It was smelling kaikaish.

No…. Wetyn pikin go dey do with Kaikai?

No information was coming forth…

Treatment started and boom grandmother shows from nowhere with an empty Kaikai bottle…

My little patient had looted one full bottle of alcohol and the effect was him lying on the bed unconscious…

Few minutes after commencement of treatment… He was awake.

Handling children is not beans and this brings me to a very important topic “Kerosene Poisoning”.

Wetyn be Kerosene Poisoning?

I am sure we all know what kerosene is, kerosene poisoning without getting too technical is harm as a result of accidentally drinking kerosene.

Kerosene poisoning is very common, as many homes still make use of kerosene and unfortunately kerosene looks like water and unlike petrol is stored in attractive containers, many times bottled water containers or even soft drink bottles.

It is the commonest form of poison amongst children.


Usually when it happens parents panic and have to do things.

Some of the things include giving the child palm oil, palm kernel oil, crude oil, olive oil, groundnut oil, or putting their fingers inside the child’s throat.


They do this to neutralize the kerosene, but most especially so the child can vomit the kerosene gulped.


Kerosene is poorly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and the fear is in the kerosene getting to the lungs and this usually happens when the child vomits.

Medical people call this “aspiration pneumonitis”, which is big grammar for the lung tissue reacting to the kerosene in the lungs.

This reaction can lead to fever, the child being breathless, cough, as well as noisy breathing.

The kerosene can also affect the heart, GIT or even the brain or bone marrow.

What do I do then?

  • First don’t panic.
  • Secondly don’t allow the enemy to use you.
  • Thirdly, do nothing at home, yes including suggestions from neighbours except the neighbour is a qualified doctor.
  • Fourthly, halele, go to a hospital, irrespective of the quantity of kerosene swallowed.

In the hospital, the child would be observed, and if needs be a Chest X-ray would be requested and treatment given to the child as needed.

Don’t play a doctor if you are not one, life is not Nollywood.

How do we prevent this?

Let’s call it the 4 As

reduced Accessibility : Hide all kerosene from children. Keep if far from children.

reduced Attractiveness: Don’t store kerosene in attractive containers, and lock the containers properly.

reduced Availability: If you can don’t use kerosene, apart from the issue of poisoning, the issue of burns is a story for another day. Also use only quantities needed.

increased Awareness: Now you have heard tell others.

Again what do I know?

This is the end of my story.

#HearWord #HearWordseries

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Medical Republic

Presentations: 58th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the NMA Rivers State.




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The well attended conference which held in the NMA House Port Harcourt, had 3 Scientific sessions as well as Panel discussions.

Presentations which were presented include:

Environment and Health: Confronting Challenges in a Sustainable Way
Professor Precious N. Ede
Institute of Geosciences and Space Technology
Rivers State University
Nkpolu-Oroworukwo, Port Harcourt.

Health Care Financing: Confronting Challenges in (Achieving) Universal Health Coverage and Service Delivery


Dr. Anikara S. Atamunotoru

Health Financing Specialist, USAID Health Finance & Governance (HFG) Project.


Human Resources For Health: Pillar Of Health Systems Strenghtening


Dr Claribel Abam

Pioneer Executive Secretary, R/S Primary Health Care Management Board, 2011-2015

The Keynote address: Health Delivery in Rivers State: A Situational Analysis was presented by Dr Charles Ibiene Tobin-West a renowned Public Health Specialist.


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Medical Republic

Abstracts for the NMA Rivers State 58th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference.




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List of Abstracts Accepted for Oral Presentation

1 NMA/ABS/2018/01-OR Audit of patients aged 60 years and above presenting in a tertiary Hospital in south-south Nigeria Bell-Gam HI


2 NMA/ABS/2018/03-OR The Cost Effectiveness of Including Hepatitis C Antibody Screening in Routine Antenatal Tests-A Single Centre’s Experience Dan-Jumbo A
3 NMA/ABS/2018/08-OR Endoscopic posterior urethral valve excision using hysteroscopic scissors- Colworths experience. Ovunda Jack  Omodu
4 NMA/ABS/2018/13-OR Association between cooking fuels and peak expiratory flow rate among rural women in the Niger-Delta. Ofori S
5 NMA/ABS/2018/24-OR Improving Child Survival in Nigeria And the Revised Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding Alice Nte
6 NMA/ABS/2018/25-OR Prevalence of Gallstone Disease in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Using Ultrasound in Port Harcourt, South-South Nigeria. UGBOMA E.W
7 NMA/ABS/2018/28-OR The Quality of Public Sources of Drinking Water in Oil Bearing Communities in The Niger Delta Region of Nigeria Omosivie Maduka
8 NMA/ABS/2018/29-OR The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes: Its Implications to the Nigerian Medical Association Alice Nte
9 NMA/ABS/2018/30-OR Arthroplasty-The Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital Experience. Friday Aaron

The International Code Of Marketing Of Breast milk

Prevalence of Gallstone Disease in Pxs with Type II DM

Posterior Urethral Valve

NMA 2018 Oral presentation

Improving Child Survival In Nigeria And The Revised

Drinking Water Quality in Niger Delta


The Prevalence of HCV Among pregnant women Oral Presentation

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