If you want to stay alive and healthy in 2013, then listen to this. A health expert has expressed anger and disappointment that most Nigerians are too careless with their health. He goes on to say that the ban on commercial motorbikes, popularly called okada by various state governments is good for all who don’t exercise their bodies and have not found the need to do so.
“Most Nigerians are too careless with their health,” Professor Bashir Akande says with a mixture of disappointment and authority ringing out from his voice. “They simply take things for granted. They think that once they feel all right, everything is well.
“But what they often fail to understand is that there could be hidden dangers lurking in their bodies, which they know not. Some could be hypertensive without knowing it; some could be diabetic without knowing it; some could have cardio vascular (heart) problems without knowing it. Only regular medical checks can reveal if anyone has any of these hidden health challenges or some other problems.”
Professor Akande, a surgeon who retired from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) makes the statement as he reflects on common health challenges confronting many Nigerians.
He tells Daily Sun that many of the health problems confronting most Nigerians can be avoided in the New Year if only people can mind what they eat, exercise regularly and attend regular health checks. “It is unfortunate that generally most Nigerians take their health for granted.
“They hardly do things to take care of themselves until some health challenges that can easily be arrested in the early stages cause greater harm. From my experience over the years, most people in this country don’t go for medical check-ups. They fail to understand that once one is above the age of 30 years, he or she needs to see the doctor for check-up at least once a year.
“We regularly find out that some Nigerians may be diabetic and won’t know. They go on drinking and drinking, eating and eating until they go into diabetic coma. But if such people were attending regular medical check-ups, they would have been told what to avoid to remain alive and healthy.
“However, it is gratifying to note that nowadays, more and more women are coming forward for regular checks on their breasts because of the escalating menace of breast cancer.
“Some of them are also going to gynaecologists for checks on their cervices for cancer. If most Nigerians go early for such checks, ailments which can be treated early enough are detected; you can be assured that people who would have died as a result of carelessness would go on to live for a very long time, provided they follow the instructions of their doctors.
“If I may ask you, how many Nigerians indulge in regular exercises as a way of keeping fit and staying healthy? The much we know of most people is that they wake up in the morning, jump into their cars and off they go.
“They don’t exercise their bodies; they don’t exercise their legs. They fail to realise that physical exercise is very important. Ideally, if we have good parks and people can take a walk, then they can go on to improve on their health. But unfortunately, ours is an okada society. And there are very many okadas all over the place, which can knock down anyone who dares to take a walk in the streets. Most of our roads are not even good enough for walking, as many of them have no provision for pedestrians.
“In Lagos in particular and generally in this country, traffic jam is a common feature. This is a big problem and a major health hazard. You see traffic jams hold down people at a place for a very long time. Sometimes you see people who are compelled to sit at the same spot in cars and buses for hours on end. They get up only to develop blood clot in their veins. Some of them sometimes develop what is called pulmonary embolism.
“This blood clot may dislodge and then spill into the heart and then to the lungs, thus making it difficult for the sufferer to breathe. And if one cannot breathe, what then happens? Death!”
Professor Akande maintains it is because of the problems he has been speaking about that he insists that Nigerians need to step up efforts to take care of their health.
“In those days we used to hear about cancer as a disease prevalent among the whites. But now it is becoming common among the blacks – prostrate and colon cancer in particular. These are some of the problems Nigerians need to proactively prevent,” he asserts.