Our weekly UK - Nigeria meetings are never ‘routine’ and I invariably find them a humbling reality check. I also often find it frustrating to hear of John’s inspiring efforts in valiantly trying to support members of his impoverished host community, since I believe there are individuals and organisations who - were they aware of his fine track record of delivery and the dire needs he is addressing - would be only too happy to help. This week was no exception.
John told us about Bossan, a 30-year-old old quadriplegic. Bossan has been in this condition for six years as a result of a motor accident. John explained: “This is becoming increasingly common due to the horrific road traffic accidents, often involving motorcycle taxis.
"One of the tragedies of these RTAs is the enforced isolation and lack of social life for the victims. Bossan has completed his computer training and was travelling to see his parents when he had the accident. I could already see his parents (his carers) are burnt out. They've sold all they can to care for him. Palliative care is non-existent in rural Nigeria, yet the need continues to grow. The most sustainable approach will be to provide basic training for carers and family members and support them with small stuff to make their labour of love easier.”
John hopes to visit Bossan at his village this weekend, some 40km from Kafanchan.
John said: “The increase in incidence of non-communicable diseases and Road Traffic Accidents has led to an increased need for palliative care. Urban folks are better placed to access services in private clinics, but there's no such luck in rural areas. The cost is usually beyond the rural dweller anyway. Bossan has an earphone which he uses and I spoke to him this morning. This phone is Bossan's only contact with the world outside his bedroom.
Now that phones can be used to browse the internet, folks like Bossan will be able to stay connected and maybe someday join a Dadamac meeting. Yes, I like to dream!“
John’s ‘dreams' often have a way of turning to reality due to his sheer persistence. So we join him in the hope that Bossan will indeed be able to join us online - perhaps in 2013?
In the meantime John said he and Bossan have two immediate questions with which they’d appreciate some help:
1. "Bossan's mind is intact and he's asked if he can get a long stylus to use in turning the pages of a book propped up in front of him".
2. "Can anyone recommend a cheap no-frills hoist/sling that can support up to 100Kg weight?"
I also wonder whether anyone has any notes/presentations etc aimed at supporting carers and if they are able to share this information with John to assist in holding local classes?
The video you see above was sent in by Fola who was travelling on the Iseyin Oyo road. It is typical of the many accidents that occur daily in Nigeria. Remember, in rural areas such as near Fantsuam there are no emergency services as we know them in the UK to offer expertise.