By Uche Amunike
Early last Monday morning, students of Nnamdi Azikiwe hit the streets of Awka protesting the death of one Mr Chinedu Madubuobi who slumped and died while having a game of basketball.
According to the story, when Chinedu was rushed to Nnamdi Azikiwe University Clinic, no single doctor was there to attend to him, while the nurses could do no better. When his friends tried to take him to hospital, another doctor reportedly rushed in and asked the nurses if the hospital they worked in had oxygen and BP apparatus to which the nurses said no.
All this while, the student was going fast. Chinedu was finally rushed to hospital in an ambulance but by the time they got to Amaku Teaching Hospital, he was pronounced dead by the doctors.
The students told Fides that it was the second student they would lose because of the poor medical facilities at Unizik.
However, a press statement from the public relations unit of the institution, debunked the notion that Chinedu died at the University's clinic, and rather claimed that he had already died before he was brought to the clinic.
While we are not about to criticise the medical facilities at Unizik, or dabble into an argument of which side of the story to believe, we dare say that most of such facilities in many of our institutions of higher learning are nothing to write home about. And this is in spite of the huge revenue the institutions generate from students.
It is either the clinics have no drugs or the attendants relate poorly with students. Thus, what should have been a great help to students, and even members of staff, becomes a death trap. Indeed, there have been claims by students that their school clinics have expired drugs. While this claim has not been verified, it says much for the lack of confidence students have in their clinics.
Perhaps if the school authorities used the same facilities as the students, they would take more care to ensure that the facilities are up to date. What happens therefore is that when the big wigs have better alternatives, they care less for what happens to the lesser beings.
This is not acceptable. Many higher institutions are known to rip off students under many guises but rather than channel such money to things that will be beneficial to the students, it goes down the drain.
Parents whose children attend higher institutions expect that the monies they pay are used judiciously and that includes stocking their clinics well to cater to the health needs of the students. Beyond that, they have to ensure that those who work there are monitored in order to check their attitude to work.
The death of Chinedu has once more highlighted the need for institutions of higher learning to pay closer attention to their medical facilities so that in times of emergency they will be better able to cope with the situation.
To whom much is given, much is expected.
May the soul of Chinedu rest in peace.