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Needed: one standard hospital per state (2) – By Hassan Gimba

Vaseline 2 months ago

Two days after I started taking the medications prescribed by Dr. Heba, I was able to lift myself out of the wheelchair and walk around. On the fifth day, I walked gingerly but surely into the hospital and came face to face with Dr. Heba, who wasn’t even surprised to see me on my feet, on my way to buy a cappuccino, I guessed.

We went to the waiting area and waited to be called to see her. She returned quickly, cup of her drink in hand. She asked me certain questions and, after taking my vitals, sent me for a spirometry flow volume test known as the pulmonary function test (LFT).

An interesting and commendable feature of Saudi hospitals, not least the Saudi-German ones, is that you do not have to come the next day for your test results. Once they admit you, ask basic questions and record your vital signs, they start running tests. It’s test after test because once a result comes out, another test is done based on that result until they narrow down and address the ailment. Each time they start, it can take up to 24 hours for each team to hand your case over to the next team. And if you got tired and walked away only to return the next day, as I once did, they start from the very beginning with you, not from where you walked away – the injection shots, cannula and bandages, x-rays and all! I asked why and was told, “Anything could have happened in your system since you left that would make yesterday’s results no longer sustainable.”

Well, back to spirometry. After the results came out, Dr. Heba, who had previously said she would take a short break, decided to postpone it in order to attend us. After studying the result, she recommended pulmonary rehabilitation, which consists of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. She decided to send me to the head of the unit, whose agenda was full this month, but who decided to accept me anyway.

And that’s how we met him. Small in build, with baldness in it and a face full of smiles, Dr. Amjad Alqurtabi a sporty, friendly and easy-going guy who was always willing to do his job.

One thing about the medical staff at the Saudi-German hospital is that they are not only professional and willing to help, but they are also friendly and do everything they can to make you feel comfortable, at home and cared for . A man could be forgiven for thinking that the female staff has fallen for him.

And you feel no obligation or guilt towards them. For the first time in my interactions with healthcare workers, while the rest were of course back in Nigeria, I never felt like they were doing me a favor or that there was a need to put my hands in my pockets to ‘appreciate’ a healthcare provider . .

Dr. Amjad, I learned, is a descendant of the author of a book on fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), Qurtabi, written in poetic form. It is one of the most important books studied to deepen the knowledge of jurisprudence and also to learn the Arabic language. I came to know about this because out of curiosity I told him that the name Qurtabi rang a bell and he opened up about his relationship with the famous author.

For those who may have read it, the book Qurtabi, named after the author’s city, Shaykh Allama Yahya bn Ishaq bn Yahya al-Laisi, began with “Yaqulu Yahyal Qurtabiyyud dari; Almurtaji mathubatal ghaffari; Bi’ismil ilaHi abda’ul maqala; Faminhu arjul afwa wal ifdhaala”, which translated means: “Says Yahya who dwells (dwells) in Qurtabi; A man who expects (desires) reward and forgiveness (from Allah); in the name of Allah I start this discussion; From Him I expect sympathy and greatness.”

Qurtabi was the name of Cordoba in Spain, which was called Andalusia when the country was an Islamic nation.

Dr. Alqurtabi went through the process of physically breaking up the mucus that filled my lungs so that it could cough up and provide relief to my lungs and chest. That would also allow me to breathe easily, which would reduce the shortness of breath (SoB) I was struggling with due to insufficient oxygen.

My condition, which turned out to be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a non-communicable, irreversible chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes airflow obstruction, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. And so one must imbibe a lifelong habit of pulmonary rehabilitation. And that was what Dr. Amjad Alqurtabi wanted me to go through.

After massaging my chest to loosen the mucus, he handed me over to Coach Khalid, the man in charge of both therapies. Even though he speaks more fluent Arabic, we immediately hit it off as friends because I saw in him a man who was eager to nurse me back to health. I saw the happiness in his eyes at my progress and the pride on his face that he was a part of it.

The first series of physical therapy consisted of treadmill, spinner bike, and deep breathing exercises. Next was hydrotherapy, where I had to undergo several sessions and exercises in a heated pool with a jacuzzi, which led to full swimming and holding my breath underwater for a while.

After about ten days I was strong enough to perform the Umrah and when Dr. Heba asked for LFT again after two weeks, it turned out that my lung function had improved by more than thirty percent. No wonder the physiotherapy department of the Saudi-German Mecca is the best in the Saudi-German chain.

I still believe that we can have hospitals with the standard of the Saudi-German ones. And what can stop us from achieving such a thing? Three things make the Saudi-German Mecca great: adequate infrastructure, modern service delivery equipment and a great, well-trained staff, with the right attitude in tow.

I believe that our states can build at least one large hospital and invite the Saudi Germans to equip and manage them for a certain period of time. While doing so, our citizens will receive the best on-the-job training upon graduation and can further benefit from exchange programs with the franchise.

All this will enable them to internalize the concept of global best practices in healthcare. That will be a win-win situation for us and will in no small measure boost our development individually and as a nation because a healthy nation is a rich nation.

Hassan Gimba is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Neptune Prime.