By Uchenna Ezenwa Akujobi
Many of us think we don’t like medication, especially the tablet forms. Personally I can barely finish a three day course of oral antimalarial medications. Recently I realised when water pass garri, leave am. You go swallow tablet, sotey tablet sef go fear you.
Allow me to introduce you guys to what we the “HIV doctors” call Post Exposure Prophylaxis For HIVAIDS (PEP).
PEP is a medical term used to refer to a combination of highly active antiretroviral medications given to an individual who is not seropositive to HIV but has been exposed to the virus. It prevents the virus from establishing an infection allowing this individual to remain negative despite the exposure. PEP is one of the main reasons a rape victim should see a doctor immediately and not hide at home because of fear of the stigma.
I met a beautiful young lady a while ago. She was travelling from Lagos to Port Harcourt at night and her bus was attacked by a gang of armed robbers somewhere very far from her destination. She was raped by at least three different men that night. It must’ve been horrible. You see, she had a very good knowledge of her cycle and she believed she was ovulating at the time so she came in asking for some emergency contraceptives.We ran some tests and I talked to her about PEP. She had no idea stuff like that existed. Our talk opened her eyes to a whole new range of possibilities. Rape is a horrible thing and pregnancy is not the worst possible outcome.
She was glad she came in early enough to benefit from PEP. She took the medications plus the contraceptives plus some prophylactic antibiotics for STIs and she got some good counselling. You see, there is quite a lot of medical care a rape victim should get. We followed her up. Till today she’s negative for HIV and she neither contracted any STIs nor got pregnant.
Now back to my discordant couple.
You see while I was talking to Oga, he wasn’t surprised he was negative. His main concern was her status.
Him: “Doc thank you for everything. But I’m not leaving here today without a copy of both my result and hers.”
Me: “My brother, it’s not within my powers to tell you your fiancée’s status.”
Him: “Nonsense!!! Doc don’t make me angry abeg…I have the right to know, after all, I paid for the tests.”
Me: “I can’t agree with you more on the fact that you have a right to know but you see, no be who call police dey win case. No be who pay for test dey collect result. Na only the person wey dem collect blood from. Na him fit collect result.”
Him: “Doc, this is rubbish naaaah!!”
He was angry. I wasn’t even bothered. For some reason I loved the anger… All I needed to do was point it in the right direction and we’d all be fine. I went on and on to explain in detail, why I couldn’t disclose her status without her consent. The more I talked, the more curious and anxious he got.
When it was obvious I would not tell him anything, Oga stormed out of the office screaming her name. How many of you have seen the movie Troy? You know how Achilles screamed Hector’s name at the Gates of Troy like “Hector! Hector!! Hector!!!” calling him out for a fight. Ehen, that was how it was.
I knew something terrible was about to happen… I could see them having a heated argument in front of the hospital.
The Receptionist had already called security but as they came, I signaled them to let it all play out.
Apparently, madam was holding on to the lab results and refusing to tell him. Seemed like she told him it was negative but he insisted he’d see the paper; the copy we gave her. Soon they were dragging the paper. I heard her say “In fact if you do this, I won’t marry again” – for where? Oga no send, he was trying to force the paper out of her hand like his life depended on it, well actually, his life did depend on it sha.
They say love is blind. But I believe at that moment love had finally gone to see an ophthalmologist and got herself a pair of glasses.
Security walked up to me “Oga, you say make we leave these pple mk dem fight here?”
Me: “Just allow them small first, I go tell una when to separate them.”
I don’t support violence of any form but you see this one eh, leave am, my hand no dey, after all I wasn’t there when they were having a dark fellowship on Saturday night. The Receptionist came to join my seat and offered me some of the Pringles she was eating. It was classic- Like we were at the cinema and the movie was on point.
Soon, he left her. He was yelling something in his local dialect. It sounded like he was saying “Give me that paper 1, give me that paper 2, give me that paper 3…He was counting down… he must’ve said she must give him the thing before the count of 10 or there about. As he reached 9, he continued – give me that paper 9, give me that… give me that paper 9 and half, give me that paper 9 and a quarter…
Next thing I heard was ‘TUUUUWAAAAAIIIII!!!!”
I was like the blood of…
He landed her what I must confess is the loudest and dirtiest slap I’ve ever seen. Everyone, from the security guys to the receptionist down to me and passersby held their cheek like it affected all of us. The slap was like a Mike Tyson punch; She fell flat on d floor and started crying. Then she let go of the paper and he took it from her hand. He opened it.
The look on his face mehhnnn..He started crying too.
Him: “Baby you’ve killed meee!!!!” (He wept)
Then I signaled security to make sure he didn’t hit her anymore. .
The movie was over, actor daan kill boss… I left the cinema and went to wait for them in d consulting room.
Soon they were both in my office…
Him: “Doc so what do I do?”
Me: “Well, you love each other enough to get married so, there is no reason you should not proceed.”
Him: “Doc You said what? Ior? Love what? Is this how God wants to punish me for what I did?
Me: “My brother, leave God out of this.”
Madam was sitting there looking at us… I believe the slap was still ringing in her ears.
Him: “So Doc what do I do now?”
Me: “You’d take some medications, provided you are not in the window period…”
Him: “I don’t understand.”
I went on to explain everything in detail. PEP and the window stage of the infection and all.
Him: “Doc the only time I’ve had sex since I gave my life to Christ 7 years ago is this past saturday… I couldn’t have been exposed before now.”
Me: “Well, you’d never know, my job is to give you information with which you can make the right decision.”
Him: “Doc I swear I’ve been keeping myself
Me: “Yea, me too.”
Madam was crying. .
He ignored her.
Him: “Doc when can I start the meds?”
He was eager to start them.
Me: “Right away sir.”
Him- what about her?
Me: “We would run some confirmatory tests first and then place her on some meds as well…that’s if we confirm she’s positive.”
Me: “Now let’s talk about you two love birds and your forth coming wedding.”
Him: “Abeg Doctor respect yourself, which love birds and which wedding, in fact I’m leaving her here and I’m going home. You can marry her if you like.”
I went on to explain that with good adherence to ARTs, she would be fine and they could get married and have healthy kids…
Him: “All this one you dey talk na Nigerian film e dey happen… Please Doc I’m going. I’d come back when the meds have finished as we discussed. You can give her, her own drugs, I’d pay. He left her with me and walked away.
For my mind I was like- this dude actually said I should marry his fiancé and then he left her here with me. Shey una dey c trouble, Shey una dey see?
So I called security and asked them to call him back…he came.
Him: “Doc what is it?”
Me: “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
Me: “You left your wife here.”
Him: “Doc I’m single.”
I went on to counsel this guy for hours – talking about the negative role his behaviour towards her has played in our fight against HIV / AIDS. It is this kind of behaviour that has made people living with HIV/AIDS stay in hiding and refuse medical care. Many commit suicide and some wait for the inevitable death to come declining ARTS or any medical assistance.
Me: “Oga what you’re doing now is called stigmatization. And it’s more harmful than the disease itself.”
Oga started his meds. He’d call me every day to tell me he just took the one for the day. It looked like he loved swallowing tablets so one day over the phone I asked him:
Me: “E b like say you like medicine before oo. The way you dey take this meds eh…”
Him: “Doc, I never see person wey hate tablet pass me but you see this one, leave am, my life depends on this thing. So far say hope dey…I go take am, the medicine just be like chocolate for my eye…”
Today is the 6th week since he commenced PEP.
He’s still sero negative. ..
He has vowed never to do bad things again. God has forgiven him and saved him….
Any similarity with persons in the above story and any other person living, dead or in between is surely a coincidence.
Uchenna Ezenwa Akujobi studied Medicine and Surgery in the University of Port Harcourt. He is a stock trader, a practicing doctor; and writing happens to be one of many things he is very fond of. He is passionate about sharing authentic and useful health information with the public in forms that are very interesting, easy to read and relate to. When not relating with humans he spends time grooming and raising his dogs.
How Expensive are Expensive Weddings?
By Edisemi Okpokiti
The cost for marriages is another reason for low marriages and also early broken marriages…it brings too much pressure to the equation.
Too much expectations, too much injuries in the process to accomplish, too much division already between new families who ought to be uniting, too much attention of the supposed spouse on an event than on the marriage.
Too much false hood expressed that has to be sustained, but with no basis for maintenance. Too much bad blood between supposed couples before they even start their home.
Many marriages ended on the night or morning after the wedding ceremony.
People regret night after their traditional wedding, and ask if it was worth all the tension, pressure and troubles or are visibly sad all through the wedding realising they have short changed themselves.
Love is stifled by fleshy lust of men and women for rights,privileges and inordinate desires to feel among. Many work for years to blow it one week 😭😭
Once the cost of the price to marry is reduced, the attention will be shifted to what my choice person thinks or feels and not what people think or feel; and that’s how relationships are built.
Preparation for marriage ought to be a good opportunity for people to know and get more acquainted with themselves but the pressure makes them distant from themselves, cursing, fighting and bitter at each other for their difference in priority and the family effect on them.
Father in-laws, mother in-laws , Siblings already become vouched enemies even before they know themselves.
It’s pathetic that poor families are the most expensive ones to marry from, it’s like these marriages is their visa out of poverty.
Elders have become children in their conduct and character just because of a young child’s money collected with the deceit of a priceless adventure.
Churches should adopt like the Orthodox churches now do for burials, giving specific date you must bury after death, thereby forcing hands to bury with what they have and not what they think they want.
Weddings in churches should be encouraged to be done even in midweeks and without receptions.
Young people also should stop talking of dream marriages. The women especially would shout “It is not in my turn, I’ll fall my hands”, but can’t you all see ,the men are not proposing because they are afraid and do not have what your entire village will demand? Ladies have to start discussing with their fathers and uncles and defend their husband to be.
Money spent on Marriages in this country, especially by the middle class and poor if invested could make those couples financially stable.
The steam most times is off before the team comes to field.
Many have lost even before the game starts.
Well for those who are really really well to do and I mean both not that the man is. Those whose families have more than enough to spare, then you are not stopped from your ecstasy.
If you are in relationship, and it’s not taking the next step this is a major cause. Seat with yourselves, seat with your parents and pastors and achieve your desire without destroying your desire. SELAH!
If you are a sibling or parent , please assist and clear all barriers and ensure your children and siblings don’t have this as a barrier preventing their marriage.
The age of unmarried is increasing daily to an average of 30…if this menace is not addressed …we will soon hit 35 yrs as average age of unmarried girls.
Let the wise hear, but the foolish rant…Life is a choice.
A counsel is not forced on anyone.
Edisemi Okpokiti is the Lead Faculty, The Pulpit and Lead Consultant of Rhabonni Consult Limited (A Human Capital Development Consultancy Firm). He is a trained Information Management Consultant and passionate preacher of the gospel.
Opinions Today, Pinions Tomorrow
By Perez Tigidam
Nigeria is full of drama and the growing internet penetration and social media usage amplifies this daily. Individuals and even corporations are constantly being sucked into this pool of daily drama.
My thought is simple, if you must be an active and opinionated participant in every raging conversation on the internet, ensure you do so from the place of thought and principles and not an emotional rush, no matter how logical it might sound at the moment.
The internet archives, it never forgets.Perez Tigidam
If you stand for a wrong today and months after try to go against that wrong because this time, you’re emotional towards one party involved, it means that you lack principle in the first place. Because the internet never forgets, people will call your bluff while referring to precedence.
It is very easy to glide into contradiction and inconsistency when you always have to offer opinion or hard stance not backed by principles.
Before you tweet, think. Before you post, pause to ponder.perez tigidam
I have a particular friend who knows me so well that, in my absence, he can literally tell you what my position will be on any given issue even without hearing from me. Same for him. This is because -not to sound saintly- we’ve been consistent in our thought pattern over a long period of time. Our positions on things are always not popular but there’s been a pattern and we’ve been consistent.
One last thing,
In a low trust society like Nigeria, it’s important that you’re consistent in character and in principles. It helps when those with less knowledge of you bring up disparaging commentary of your person.
Last year, I had a fall out with a client and someone asked me, “What if this client decides to give a negative feedback on referrals?” My response was simple, my disagreement is not out of bad character but out of principle that binds a contractual relationship. Of every one client relationship that goes wrong, there are 9 others that will stand vehemently for me, because of character and precedence.
You can say I am not cheap when it comes to billing for my services and I’d agree, but I do not know that I am a cheat or dubious in character, for this I am grateful for my upbringing and can raise my shoulder anywhere to this.
If I disagree vehemently with a friend or a client, it’s mostly not out of bad character but out of principle. I rarely do shift from my position, either I just want to let you have your way and move on or I’m deeply convinced that my position is wrong, which doesn’t happen instantaneously either. I have to slowly be convinced on facts and principles that support that position, it’s the reason people say I’m stubborn.
But I am not.
Perez Tigidam is a brand management consultant and media entrepreneur based in Nigeria. He runs one of Nigeria’s foremost brand consultancy and design firms Arden & Newton Ltd and doubles up as the user experience and content strategy team lead at TheNerve Africa.
Going back to the basics.
By Nimi Stephanie Ekere.
Last year, we were woken up to the news of a student who tried to poison his colleague because she was doing better than him, academically. This was to say the
least, frightening. That for me, set my mind wondering what the home environment of the said student was. If a child in Secondary school could think of something so terrible, it clearly showed that his family, which is the smallest unit of the society was in a wrong state. The reason is that the family forms most of a person’s values, at least at that tender age.
Recently, the suicide rate in the country has become so alarmingly high and particularly scary amongst young people. Young people take their lives for the flimsiest reasons. It’s either you hear that they took their lives because they were heartbroken in their relationship, they failed an exam or someone spoke to them badly.
In the past, we were known for our resilience and ability to adapt to even the most unfriendly situations, so what suddenly changed?
I would like us to look into the family setting and review our parenting styles and strategies. A lot has changed. Yes, I think a lot has changed so much; and this does not mean that our parents were perfect in the past. They made their mistakes but to a very large extent, they did a lot of things right.
Many modern day parents are so concerned about pleasing their children that a lot of areas are left unattended to. There seems to be no standards and values which are the bedrock of effective parenting.
The twenty first century parent is caught up in the web of an extremely busy schedule in the pursuit of money and when they make it, throw it at the child and fail to invest quality time with their children and lose the opportunity to discover their children and what they are growing up to become.
For many of these children, integrity means little or nothing, and the child having nothing to emulate, seeks help from his peers and the television.
Nannies have taken over the place of mothers in the lives of these children. And because parents are not always visible, and even if they are visible, they are unavailable, there lies a wide communication breakdown. And if a child cannot talk
or discuss everything with his parents, there usually are deadly alternatives for them.
Parents try to compensate for these deficiencies with wonderful vacations, gifts, expensive clothes and shoes and other luxuries. While these are wonderful, they do not take the place of deliberate, intentional and effective parenting.
Also, a lot of children are suffering from low self-esteem because of the unrealistic expectations and pressures from their parents. ‘Have you seen Linda’s results?’
Why can’t you come first place like Jonathan?’ This is all the child hears and gradually, his self-esteem completely gets eroded and he starts seeking for validation from external sources. He begins to have envy, hatred and unhealthy competitions as part of his everyday life.
This begins to manifest in his behaviour towards others. An example is the case of the seventeen year old boy that was left to drown by his friends because they were jealous of him. There are multiples of examples to buttress the fact that we must go back to the basics.
Parenting must be done right if we want to see this generation of children do better than us. There is a vacuum that must be filled. We must listen to these young ones. We must try to create time for them. Our values must not be thrown out, they must be instilled in our children. We can love our children without necessarily giving them everything they want. There should be discipline
in parenting. Sometimes, giving them all they want is not to their advantage. We must learn to know when to draw the line.
Their strengths should be celebrated while their weaknesses worked on. Unhealthy competitions are really unhealthy for them. We must know that every child is unique and is created differently with a special gift to change her world.
Prayer is an inevitable tool in effective parenting. Every word of prayer said on our children’s behalf is a seed that will germinate and yield fruits, good fruits. This said, prayers must go hand in hand with hard work as even the Bible admonishes us to intentionally, train up our children in a way that they should go and when they are old, they would not depart from it.
Thank you for reading this, I hope to get your feedback.
Dr Nimi Stephanie Ekere is a wife, mother and Family Physician. She enjoys writing, reading and attending to her patients. She is a life coach and teacher, who is passionate about children and young people walking in the right course and path to achieve their full potential.
Her Foundation, Ekom Charity Foundation mentors young people and also cares for the less privileged.
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