A week after the story of the ill-health of the First Lady Patience Jonathan broke, the Presidency seems not forthcoming with information about her stay in a German hospital. Weekly Trust reports
The more the Presidency seems unwilling to disclose information about the true health status of the First Lady Patience Jonathan, the more curious Nigerians seem to become. When the news first became public that the first lady had travelled abroad to treat a medical condition in Germany, her spokesman Ayo Osinlu confirmed the trip but said she was only away to take a moment rest.
However, Weekly Trust heard from sources last night that President Goodluck Jonathan felt embarrassed over the controversy the issue is generating. It was said that the president’s men wanted to release a statement but one of the president’s aides advised against it, saying Nigerians will still not be satisfied even if the statement is released. He said only the first lady’s return to the country could douse the tension.
Though the ailment for which Mrs Jonathan is receiving treatment at the Horst Schmidt Klinik in Wiesbaden, Germany (where the late President Yar’Adua was once hospitalised for kidney-related ailments), has not been disclosed, some are saying that the first lady was being treated for food poisoning, while others said she had a ruptured appendix.
Reports in the media said the first lady suffered food poisoning while on a trip to Dubai. The reports said she was treated in Nigeria but was misdiagnosed forcing her to be evacuated to the Horst Schmidt Klinik in Germany after her condition worsened.
Weekly Trust checks however revealed that the German hospital specialises in a number medical fields including: General and Visceral Surgery; Gastroenterology (a branch of medicine focused on the digestive system and its disorders); Ear, Nose and Throat Medicine, Head and Neck Surgery; Cardiology (dealing with disorders of the heart (specifically the human heart); Neurosurgery; Thoracic Surgery (the field of medicine involved in surgical treatment of diseases affecting organs inside the chest) and Trauma, Hand and Orthopaedic Surgery
Also according to information on the hospital’s website “The specialist surgeons at HSK are nationally and international renowned experts whose combined expertise covers all medical disciplines.”
The Dr. Horst Schmidt Hospital Corporation is the Municipal Hospital of the city of Wiesbaden, according to its website. It serves as a teaching hospital for the University Medical Centre.
“With 21 clinics, four institutes and 1027 beds we offer our patients a very sophisticated and high-quality treatment range for the necessary care in our region,” information on the website said.
The hospital says it has more than 3000 workers.
But Weekly Trust attempts to get information from the hospital were unsuccessful. Two emails sent to the email address on the hospitals website were not replied up to the time of going to press last night.
Jonathan yet to visit wife
President Jonathan has yet to visit his wife, Weekly Trust further heard from sources. Attempts to speak with the president’s adviser on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe were not successful up to the time of going to press last night.
But observers said the president’s reluctance to go to Germany could be understood in two ways.
“One, going to Germany at this time will give the game away. It will be a like way of confirming to Nigerians that yes the first lady is sick even though the president’s men have been trying to suggest the contrary,” says a public affairs commentator, Yakub Saidu.
“This is the same mistake late President Yar’adua’s handlers made regarding the true health condition of the former president. At the end of the day what they toiled to hide became public knowledge. So the only way the Presidency can stop a similar experience is to come out with information. At least we all know she is human and can therefore fall sick just like anyone,” he added.
Mum is the word
Meanwhile, the Presidency has remained silent over the reported foreign medical trip of First Lady Patience Jonathan. Mrs. Jonathan, 55, has been missing from the public glare for more than a week now.
But sources said the first lady is responding to treatment after undergoing an emergency surgery due to ruptured appendix to remove the poisons in her intestine. Reports said all presidential aides have been warned against discussing the first lady’s health condition, while those who accompanied her to the trip to Germany have been banned from communicating with people back home concerning Mrs Jonathan’s health.
It would be recalled that a civil society group-the Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) recently spoke against the practice where Nigerian government officials shun hospitals at home to seek foreign medical treatments to the detriment of the local health care infrastructure.
In a statement jointly authorised by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National media officer, Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group said: “We read with shock the media report that the wife of the President Mrs. Jonathan was flown to Germany… the first thing that comes to our mind immediately is to ask probing questing on the actual state of those first class medical facilities reportedly bought and installed at the Presidential Villa during the days of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s administration? What has happened to the several billions of tax payers’ fund injected into the running of the presidential mansion in Abuja including the presidential health facilities? It is wrong for Nigerian political elite to tacitly destroy our local health facilities just so that they can enjoy foreign medical services at highly exorbitant cost to the poor tax payers who do not have the privilege and benefit of enjoying any workable primary health care all across the rural areas of Nigeria.”
The association however said it sincerely wishes Mrs. Jonathan a very speedy recovery, even as it lamented that successive administrations continued to pay lip service to health care delivery.