The Definition of Security Is Not Complete Without Mention of Healthcare Accessibility.

ARREY - ECHI
Posted September 25, 2018 from Cameroon
Each time I see this picture sent to me by my nephew, I feel at peace and I imagine a world where everyone feels secured and at peace.

If you ask anyone what security means to them, the answers would most probably go along these lines; An absence of war, access to shelter, food, freedom and what have we. In a way, these are important aspects in determining how secured people feel. It is practically impossible to feel secured when bullets fly left, right and centre like is the case now in the Anglophone regions of my country, Cameroon. It is next to impossible to feel secured when your rights are trampled upon and just walking along the streets especially if you are a woman and alone shivers run down your spine as the fear of being raped drums into your mind loudly. It is also impossible when you are deprived of shelter and your very being is threatened by the same person who promised to love and cherish you… when the promised love turns you into a punch bag and you live in fear of your very existence and life. The list of things which cause insecurity especially to the women and vulnerable are long. Still, when we talk security, we often hear the physical, emotional and financial wellbeing of those involved. A crucial aspect is often neglected or overlooked.

When I was faced with what security actually means to me, I had to look at this point that many often fail to see… Healthcare.  Maybe health comes naturally to me because I do have a long history with health issues; still, the present situation in my country made me think a lot about this aspect. Not too long ago, I was with a friend at the hospital. She was critical. I thought the doctors would see her case as an emergency and rush to assist her. Unfortunately, the doctors then on call took their glorious time to attend to her. We tried several times to get them to attend to her but apparently, our talks were falling on deaf ears. I left that hospital angry and feeling frustrated. I couldn’t help thinking about the many that die after attempts at reaching hospitals to meet doctors who appear to be too busy to treat them as emergency cases. And I had to ask myself, how safe are we if we rush to hospitals in our most vulnerable moments, seeking for help and succor but yet, we are left even more vulnerable when those whom we rush to for help act like they didn’t see us? How many preventable deaths would have been avoided if such incidents didn’t happen? Are we secured when we go to hospitals and meet doctors who are not so quick to attend to us?  These thoughts ran through my mind as I went home and it was sad to hear friends recount similar stories happening to them.

What began as a peaceful protest in October 2016 by lawyers and teachers protesting the marginalization of Anglophones has taken a turn for the worst. There has been a huge loss to lives, property with many rendered homeless and dying in the bushes. In fact, many dying from lack of access to quality health care than from bullets and machetes.  Still, there seem to be no end in sight as every day, stories of burnt villages and health centres, some with patients too weak to run burnt to ashes in the same place they went to seek for help and succor abound. It has been difficult to swallow these images of charred bodies and burnt hospitals and it has even been more difficult to believe hospitals and health personnel would become targets during conflicts. it has even been more painful to erase the image of wailing mothers on the street calling for a ceasefire. And yet, as the crisis rage and more and more causalities happen, the methods put in place to curb the uprising only increases the insecurity and vulnerability of those directly concerned.

For instance, a recent curfew got me thinking about sickle cell warriors found in these troublesome Anglophone regions. As one who lives with sickle cell, I know our health is usually always unpredictable. A health crisis can start suddenly, without warning in the middle of the night and sometimes, rushing to the hospital immediately can mean the difference between life and death. But due to this curfew, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach the hospital in such emergencies. I had to wonder, in times of insecurities, we think about the physical, moral and financial difficulties. What about the psychological and emotional wellbeing of those directly affected? Sickle Cell Warriors, people in need of Dialysis, pregnant women nearing their time or in need of strict medical attention, the weak and elderly?

I recently had to wonder what exactly I would pack in an emergency bag if I were to run away because of insecurity. Medications? Water? Pull-overs? What exactly? There can never be security in the true sense of the word when a fraction of a populace has to worry about access to good health care. For Security to be attainable, health care availability and affordability is a must. That is why I sincerely believe that Security will also mean not only the absence of war and other factors listed above like violence, rape lack of shelter etc, making many feel insecure, but also, making sure those in need can have access to good health care and quality treatment without fear of reprisal and cost. The stigma of shame and the cost of medications have kept many away from receiving help when sick. When this is taken into consideration, only then will people be able to feel even more secured. Women will stop dying during childbirth; those who are critically ill, especially if they cannot afford the treatment will have a chance at good care. That will make them feel secured and that is what I define as security.

 

This post was submitted in response to The Future of Security Is Women .

Comments 15

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jlanghus
Sep 25, 2018
Sep 25, 2018

Hi Lovely Arrey,

How are you doing? Thanks so much for sharing your honest and vulnerable account of how the crisis in Cameroon is personally affecting you and what peace and security means to you. It's true, a lot of people take health, and healthcare, for granted. I can't imagine what constant fear you must live in not knowing if you will be able to have necessary healthcare available to you.

I hope you are doing as well as can be expected. My prayers to you, your family and Cameroon, love:-)

ARREY - ECHI
Sep 25, 2018
Sep 25, 2018

Dear Jill,
Always a pleasure to read some encouraging words from you, thank you.
Thank you too for the thoughts and prayers.

Yes, I am doing great and doing my best to take care... but that fear is still there as the uncertainities continue in the Anglophone part of the country.

Thank you for the prayers. They are very much needed.

Hugs to you and much love always.

jlanghus
Sep 25, 2018
Sep 25, 2018

Hi Arrey,

You're welcome, and thank you:-)

Yes, I'm sure:(

Right back at you, love...

Dylan Dills
Sep 25, 2018
Sep 25, 2018

It is critical that we take the time to see that health and security are intersectional. If we do not help those whom are most vulnerable for healthcare (women, children, disabled, elderly, etc), the ability to keep our communities safe is trait. Thank you for your beautiful words and this piece!

ARREY - ECHI
Sep 26, 2018
Sep 26, 2018

Hello Dylan,
Thank you. Health and security are interwined. It is impossible to talk about the one without thinking about the other. Thank you for the kind words.

Arrey

Tarke Edith
Sep 25, 2018
Sep 25, 2018

Hi Arrey
Thank you for sharing your own point of vew as cimcent our crisis sister the situation is getting worst and the authorities in place of solving this problems are busy with their campaign for election well sister let keep avocating

ARREY - ECHI
Sep 26, 2018
Sep 26, 2018

Dear Sister Edith,

It is sure painful to see the nonchalance with which this whole crisis is given. More lives are being lost daily. It is truly a sad moment. I hope you and family are save.

Hugs to you,
Arrey

Olutosin
Sep 27, 2018
Sep 27, 2018

My dearest sister, you nailed it! What is peace without access to QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE? Hmn I dont know where to start from, not here o, not just here. May God help us. The one painful thing is that all these maggots will start their war without putting some people in mind. How will they flee? The sick and those with special abilities?

Ehn, I dont know why God just queued me with these selfish leaders ehn?
So heartless leaders that has powdered filled brains! We can transform all these, may God empower us.

ARREY - ECHI
Sep 28, 2018
Sep 28, 2018

Dearest Sis Tosin,
What truly is peace and security without access to good and affordable health care? It is truly painful when men go to war because of their ego and fail to see the effects on the common people. It is even sad that they still turn around and fly their families out for better treatmen while the masses suffer.

We keep advocating.

Much love,
Arrey

Olutosin
Sep 28, 2018
Sep 28, 2018

When they have headaches, they fly to Germany? When they sprain their ankles the fly to Switzerland and the liģhtning that will send thunder to fire all their families is still brewing in China, by the time they get to that hospital, the doctor waiting for them there is a Nigerian. Gbam. Horrible President.

ARREY - ECHI
Oct 01, 2018
Oct 01, 2018

Lol Couldn't help laughing at the Thunder being made in China and it just may be true with the kind of influence China is having in Africa. Sometimes, I couldn't help feeling out of greed, our so called leaders have auctioned the continent to the highest bidder...in this case China.

They sure do fly all over the world except their own countries to seek medical support and still encounter people who left because of their neck breaking policies. It is a sad situation. I weep for the next generation, Sis Mi.

Leina
Oct 02, 2018
Oct 02, 2018

Darling sis,it breaks my heart every time I remember how people suffer in our hospitals.The rude nurses,arrogant doctors,absence of medications and equipment ,poor sanitation,lack of roads that lead to hospitals .Yes,this is insecurity ....how secured can we be without guarantee of quality medical care when we need it.We shall overcome!

ARREY - ECHI
Oct 15, 2018
Oct 15, 2018

My dear Sis Leina,

The hospital experiences of most people is a continous nightmare. Some of these Drs sent to work in state hospitals reference patients to their private clinics. Those who cannot afford are usually left to die. The system truly needs a revamping. With God for us, we sure shall overcome.
Love and hugs.

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Oct 07, 2018
Oct 07, 2018

Hello, Arrey,

As a mother of a son with special needs, this is what security means, too. You are such a brave sickle warrior and such a gifted writer.
Please be safe there. The world needs you to keep fighting!

Hugs.

ARREY - ECHI
Oct 15, 2018
Oct 15, 2018

Thank you my dear sis Karen,

The health and security of people with special needs continue to be one of the most neglected. Still, we need to keep talking. Thank you for the kind words always.
I sure will keep safe. Hugs to your son,
With love from Cameroon.