The Village Doctor

The female doctor cleared her throat and spoke up, “Please don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying traditional medicines are bad or ineffective, after all some modern malaria drugs are made from herbs and with the problems of increasing levels of drug resistance and difficulties in poor areas of being able to afford and access effective antimalarial drugs, traditional medicines could be an important and sustainable source of treatment.”

“I’m sorry but you have malaria,” Doctor Kola said to the young man who came to him that morning for examination.
He was one of the numerous patients he had treated that week alone. A few days ago, one of the Chief’s daughters had been rushed to the clinic, she was severely Ill.

Doctor Kola was a young brilliant doctor who was recently posted to the clinic in Ijegun village. It was barely a week since his transfer but it already felt like a decade to him. The work over there was much. He had a lot of patients as the villagers were always falling sick. Dr. Kola was worried.

He took out time to study the villagers. Their level of hygiene was nothing to write home about. They were very carefree and practiced poor sanitation.
“No wonder they are always falling ill” he thought.

So the following week Dr. Kola invited a team of medical practitioners to Ijegun village. Together they organized a Good Health and Well-Being Campaign.

On the appointed day, the villagers, both male and female, young and old, pregnant women, old men and women, gathered at the village square. They were all eager to hear the solution to their constant illness as Dr. Kola had promised them.

The head of the team addressed the people. First, he thanked them for leaving their various farms and businesses to come out. Then he started by educating them on the need to practice good hygiene.

“Germs and diseases spread quickly in a dirty environment” he said.
“That’s why you need to keep yourselves clean all the time. Always wash your hands, wash your fruits and vegetables properly before eating, washing fruits and vegetables can remove 99 percent of pathogens. Wash your plates, pots and utensils before cooking.”

“Are you saying that I should wash the mangoes I plucked from the tree this morning before eating?” a little boy asked.

“Yes, my boy” the doctor replied and smiled at him.
“It is always advisable to wash all fruits before you eat them to ensure that they are clean and to help remove bacteria from the outside.”

The other doctors and nurses took turns in teaching the people how to tackle a wide range of global health challenges from malaria, tuberculosis to AIDS.

“Maintain a clean and hygienic surrounding, clear the bushes around your houses, drain stagnant water and use sand to fill the holes so that mosquitoes do not breed on it. These are the primary actions you need to take to prevent Malaria epidemic.” A female doctor continued. She had a sonorous voice and wore a pair of  spectacles.

“Dispose of trash properly in the waste bin, especially other objects that may collect water like plant pots, old car tires, empty tins, and plastic containers, and remember to empty this bin from time to time.” she advised.

“This means i have to dispose of all the empty cans at my backyard as soon as I get home, my daughter will no longer play with them. I’ll get her some toys tomorrow. Now I know better, we cannot risk being infected with malaria.” Mr. Akin, the trader promised.

The villagers were impressed, they clapped and cheered him.

“That’s a healthy decision sir! We should all be like Mr. Akin” she urged them.

“Always use a bed net impregnated with insecticide and ensure it is properly tucked underneath your mattress.” she continued. “Use mosquito repellent.
You can also use antimalarial tablets. Wear trousers and long sleeves at night. When infected, ensure to go for early diagnosis, timely and adequate treatment of all Malaria cases to control the disease and to save the lives of all those afflicted.

“But is it necessary to go for diagnosis and treatment at the clinic when we can boil our herbs at home and drink? ” Chief Oluewe, the village herbalist asked. Our forefathers used them and they got better!”

Some of the villagers murmured. Clearly they were in support of Chief Oluewe.

The female doctor cleared her throat and spoke up, “Please don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying traditional medicines are bad or ineffective, after all some modern malaria drugs are made from herbs and with the problems of increasing levels of drug resistance and difficulties in poor areas of being able to afford and access effective antimalarial drugs, traditional medicines could be an important and sustainable source of treatment.”

“My point is, malaria treatment is possible using herbs. But of course, I would recommend modern drugs because they are more specific with reduced side-effects which can be well controlled by taking the proper dosage. And they have been prepared in hygienic conditions as they go through years of rigorous series of laboratory test to ensure safety and effectiveness.
There is also a reduced risk of treatment failure and enhanced convenience.”

“Nevertheless, whichever method you choose ensure it is clean and hygienic and go for early diagnosis and treatment. ” she added.

Just then a baby cried and the mother who was seated at the back hushed him. Moments later there was silence again.

“Infants too, need to be taken proper care of to avoid malaria because it is one of the highest cause of infant mortality in the world today. Malaria kills infants and young children faster than adults if not given adequate and prompt treatment of malaria infections because at this stage, immunity acquired from the mother starts to wane. Infants are at increased risk of rapid disease progression, severe malaria and death.” she ended.

The other doctors enlightened them on AIDS and Tuberculosis. It was a detailed, educative and interactive lecture.

At the end of the program, the villagers clapped and cheered the medical team, especially Dr. Kola. They went home full of knowledge, each determined to adopt proper hygiene and sanitation within and outside his or her environment. From that day onwards, Ijegun village no longer remained the same.

About the Author:

Chizoba is an ambitious young lady who is passionate about making a difference in her environment even if it involves voluntary services. She advocates for gender equality and quality education because she believes every child has a right to be educated.

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