I could see right through the frail woman’s pain. I felt it. Those around her wailed but she didn’t. Instead, she stared at us, she stared past us, her eyes searching through the crowd, t in the area,Her son was gone and never coming back, but even so, she was not not for anyone in particular but nonetheless searching without necessarily registering our presence; this was a long, awkward and extremely sad moment when nothing said or done could help ease the situation. She tightly held on to the lifeless body of her little boy that lay on her laps.
I knew her little boy, 5years old and a bit tall for his age. I was sure I had seen the boy once or twice before, esssearching without as we had some grounds work done for the measurement and digging up of the borehole in the eastern part of Wargadud town. In fact, I could have sworn I had seen the child earlier that morning, or not. But either way, I either way, i was equally saddened to learn of his demise, and especially the fact that he succumbed to malaria. Some villagers said it was a complicated case of typhoid, others argued that it couldn’t have been typhoid since it wasn’t common in the area. A stout man in the furthest corner of the now mammoth crowd authoritatively pointed out to measles. This was of course a sad situation, not only was a child dead, but also his cause of death was subject to debate by villagers who were not experts in any healthcare related field. Then that the arguments took a different direction. Blame on the government and on the private organizations that pledged aid to the community started. Negligence was the main focus.
The villagers demanded to know why they were not getting ample healthcare and medical attention as the rest of the country and its citizens were. Their fury was so eminent, but they were justified. This is an area that is home for close to a thousand families, including its surroundings, yet it is served by a district hospital with one doctor, who is always on call, a handful of overworked nurses and a community health worker. To add onto that, Mobile health clinics from private organizations is a concept widely speculated in the area but yet to materialize, due to lack of funding in one way or the other.
So who could blame these angry villagers? They had just lost one of their own, a bridge to the next generation, an innocent child; all due to improper health care. I say improper because whatever the cause of death, it was clear that under the right circumstances it could have been prevented. Sadly, the death toll is still on the rise. Wargadud is yet to receive proper attention as far as health care services are concerned.
I walked away, but not before stealing one last glance at the grieving mother. Her son was gone and was never coming back, but even so, she didn’t stand alone in this. Her fellow villagers, obviously tired of somewhat begging for better healthcare services day in day out in the area, stood by her in this. Even a bicycle can’t stand alone…it is two tired….