Out of the countless similar sad events, the recent suicide of a Nigerian medical doctor has again put before us the travails of being a doctor in Nigeria where neither the citizens nor the government cares.
First off, just like everyone else, these doctors are humans who are also prone to those diseases they help cure.
Like every Nigerian walking on the street, these doctors have lots of issues, financially, mentally, spiritually, physically, marital/career wise and more.
Because these individuals are often idolized as problems solvers who seemly have nothing to worry about, their issues and travails are also often ignored by the society.
Following the recent death of a doctor who committed suicide on third mainland bridge in Lagos State few days ago, Dr Allwell Oji, his friend, Attah Essien took to his Facebook page to talk about the pressure that Nigerian doctors go through in a piece he titled; “AND THE DOCTOR DIED”.
“Dr Oji Allwell was my junior and also a graduate of College of Medicine University of Lagos.
Indeed I left the great citadel of learning just when he was learning the rudiments of the profession hence our paths never crossed but if they had, I would have embraced him like a brother and share ward round tales of how we survived the likes of Professor Bode and Professor Odum.
“But Dr Orji is dead. I heard he jumped off Third Mainland Bridge in an apparent suicide. What could have pushed the young man to take his own life? What level of frustration can kill the joy of life in an intelligent young man?
Indeed the dark-side of Medicine in Nigeria has once again reared its ugly head. A profession that is in the final death throes of extinction has claimed another victim.
“Indeed many see Doctors as being on top of the food chain hence they carry a heavy burden. Numerous relatives feast on their finances like hungry vultures who keep on coming back for more carion. They can never take no for answer for it is said Doctors always have money as if they work in Nigerian Mint.
“Besides the retinue of dependents, there is the drop in job satisfaction. The recalcitrant nature of Government has left many doctors on half pay, irregular pay or no pay at all. How can a man with a retinue of dependents and a gamut of hungry mouths to feed survive when his small stipend is irregular and subject to political manipulations?
“And the frustration only mounts when you see your colleagues who traveled overseas faring far better despite your waning patriotic zeal that Nigeria will be better,” read more.
Amidst the current fight by President Muhammadu Buhari against corruption, Boko Haram, recession among other issues facing Nigeria, it’s high time we started creating awareness and paying more attention to the large number of Nigerian doctors dying daily from depression and other mental problems.
They deserve our support, they help give and safe lives; they also deserve to be saved.
This is one issue that is often not raised in health forums or seminars let alone making it a national issue in Nigeria but it’s silently taking countless of young lives across the country.
Depression which is has to do with sadness, unhappy life or not having any hope for the future can be caused by a lot things looking at the current state of Nigeria.
While we encourage graduates and doctors generally not to stay idle, lots of them are dying slowly and helplessly due to depression, sometimes as a result of lack of full knowledge of what they go through or the society that cares less.
This calls for sensitization and more attention by parents, guardians, friends, government and individuals on this silent killer if we want to ensure a better tomorrow for generations of doctors to come.
The country has been recording increasingly a high number of suicides and unexplained cases of deaths among Nigerian doctors. And no doubt, depression is one the reasons.
According to research, “many factors may contribute to the onset of depression, including genetic characteristics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical illnesses, stress, grief, or substance abuse. Any of these factors alone or in combination can bring about the specific changes in brain chemistry that lead to the many symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder and related conditions.”
So when you are often indecisive, anti-social, sad, hopeless, disorganized, or you sudden lack interest from friends, family, regular activities among other symptoms, you are suffering from depression.
Thus, the government has a vital role to play here. There should be a constant dialogue between the government and these doctors as regards their challenges as doctors and as citizens because they are not super humans as many of us think.
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