As I sat there in that hospital ward watching the fluids passing from the tubes into my daughter's frail body, I could not help but cast my mind back to a little over thirty years ago.
Our neighbor, Mama Talatu was married to one of the most irresponsible men around. He would take off at the end of each month as soon as salaries were paidand would not return until he had spent nearly everything. This cycle was a constant and it went on for months until he got so drunk one certain month and not only failed to resume work but also lost his job. Mama Talatu at this time had become the burden of the entire compound. She was known to knock from room to room, begging for assistance ranging from soup ingredients to money and even drinking water sometimes, to cater for herself and her two daughters.
The most bitter part of her story was losing one of her daughters to malaria fever, because help did not come on time.
The last ten days had been quite a challenge for me as I watched my only daughter battle through a bout of acute malaria and enteric fever ( also known as typhoid). We went from taking oral drugs which had little or no effect, to landing on a hospital bed where we spent two days. She is out of the woods now, and is today hale and hearty.
I look around me and still see so many women losing children to malaria and other common fevers that are prevalent in the tropics. Healthcare in our part of the world which is supposed to be cheap and accessible, daily eludes the common man. Not much seems to have changed in the plight of women from the days of Mama Talatu. A lot of women still find themselves helpless in the face of these common health challenges and it bleeds my heart to see so many children die cheap deaths.
As a single mother, I know how lonely and dejected I felt, having to cough out the sums expected of me at the Private hospital where my daughter was being treated. Are there no public hospitals? Yes, you may be tempted to ask that. But, anyone who knows these parts well enough will tell you that good healthcare in my country is strictly for the highest bidder. Oftentimes, indigent families prefer over the counter treatment options rather than pass through the ordeal of attending public hospitals were doctors are either on strike or lack basic facilities to do their jobs well.
Who then is still the victim here? Women. Who bears the brunt of raising the children when the men abscond? Women. Who suffers with the children when they are sick? Women. Who is at a greater loss when the children die? Women. For like we all know, it is easier for a man to remarry or marry more wives and bear more children.
Who then needs empowerment? Women.
I will be talking more about my project FOCUS in subsequent posts through the course of this training and I shall be lookingforward to your support and positive contributions as we adopt suffering women today towards giving our world a better tomorrow!
How to Get Involved
I-FOCUS is a movement that seeks to help women stand again. It aims at seeking out indigent single mothers ( divorcees, widows and survivors of domestic violence) and giving them another chance at life, by teaching them common trades that can fetch daily income and also provide shelter where necessary. Any contributions you can make towards this will go a long way to change the plight of suffering women; sewing machines, baking equipment, cookers, beddings, clothing and cash can go a long way to help many a woman find hope again. Thank you, in fervent anticipation.
F - Face forward
O - Organise my life
C - Concentrating
U - Uncompromisingly on
S - Success!