For a reason that the story behind it is very long, 100watts missed her immunization appointment. With my hospital, the bureaucracy behind re-booking an appointment sure gives you cold feet. So while I was still chilling on those feet, I mentioned it to my friend (she is a citadel of the right kind of advice, remember the one about not beating any classmate first but beating back the one who beats you first?) and she directed me to the Health Centre. I am wary of government hospitals let me not lie, so I began to issue all sorts of queries.
“Are you sure it is free? Are their nurses good? I don’t want an abcess o, etc etc”
“Just go first” She replied.
So today, I got myself and cutie ready and off we went.
So here goes my top five highlights of the visit;
1. Accessibility and parking: I didn’t have to go through the Victoria island route traffic, I went to the health centre in Yaba, no traffic, easily accessible and parking was free! A few men were even nice to watch out for the gutters for me and hailed me “Oyinbo welcome o” I squeezed my face, telling myself that I will not tip anybody one naira. I did not have to, even when I was leaving they carried my bag and advised me to get a house-girl so I would not be stressing myself carrying baby and bag.
2. Structure: Believe me, I was surprised beyond words. The place was the spick and span kind of neat, air conditioned as well. The cleaners were neat, security men polite, nurses lovely (at first sight…that’s what is important though), everyone was willing to help and direct me to the immunization room. The people around were being attended to in an orderly fashion.
3. Fellow Mothers: I made certain to be quite plainly dressed in my Faded jeans, green round-neck, small earrings and a head band. Guess what? Nobody cared how I looked or even give me that I-am-sizing-you-up look. Let me confess, at my private clinic, we look at ourselves from head to toe and if you make mistake and sit anyhow, we will look inside your pant sef. We were not keeping ourselves busy with I-pads at the health-centre, every mom was talking with the other and when they noticed I was new, they chatted me up and I felt at home in a matter of minutes. Some of them even arranged a small audition on who would marry 100watts, each of them trying to convince her that their son was best. She was enjoying every beat of it, giggling and laughing her head off. At my other place, you might have heard
“Oh, your girl’s socks are so cute, what designers are those?”
Nobody was making phone calls to their offices, explaining why they might not return and chipping in the name so you hear ‘Oh my gosh, these Chevron Oil company colleagues though’.
4. Registration and immunisation: Let me confess, I went upstairs without a single dime so that if I were asked for anything, I would just pick my bags, go home and call my friend to gloat about how it was not as free as she said. I was handed over an immunization booklet, quite informative and absolutely free! My daughter was called when it was her turn, the nurse chided me gently for not coming at the exact month and that was it. I showed her my other hospital immunisation booklet and asked for more information on a particular vaccine. She stopped all she was doing and took me through the importance, optionality and compulsoriness of every vaccine and when I said
She laughed and said “When we tell you people to come to government hospitals and be educated properly from the better experts, you people will carry your big noses to the big private hospitals”
She asked after 100watts diet “Everything ma, she is a foodie,longthroat”
She laughed, I like her already.
5. The minus: Honestly, I didn’t have anything to be unhappy about. There was a queue yes, but it moved super fast. Some mothers who came after me were unruly and struggled to write their names before me like the thing was running away, but I understand that mentality. One woman came from the blues and took a photo of my girl and proceeded to gush over how beautiful she is. I was slightly offended as I am rather private with their photos. So I gently told her
“Madam you go pay o”
she immediately picked the message and went “Ah, sorry o, I just admired her big afro” and that was that.
So summarily, our Government has not failed us totally as a lot of us like to sing. The Governor of Lagos state is doing a super fantastic job ( I prophesied this earlier on…its that thing with Lawyers!)
One of the women insisted on having my contact and she proceeded to preach the health centre gospel for me
“My sister, you can keep having your babies at your private hospital because to be honest, they can be rude and saucy here when you are in labour but I advise you to be coming here for the immunization and save your money o”
So yes, I would be going there for the immunization, let me follow and reap the benefit of paying my taxes. Eko o ni baje o!