By Emma Okocha
”Today is a historic day, Mr. President, in thirty minutes by the stroke of your pen, you begin to make life more meaningful to our people and we owe you …History is not only what is written in books….History is made when a leader’s passion is matched with the principle to commit to the service of his country. ” Â -Vice President Joe Biden introducing President Obama at the signing into Law of the Health Care Bill at the Eastern Wing of the White House, Washington DC, Tuesday, March 23rd , 2010..
”The Greatest Wealth Is Health” – See the AEneid, by Roman’s renowned Poet, Publius Vergilius Mero, otherwise known in Classics, as Vergil, Astronomer, Poet, Homosexual, Philosopher.
Just like his historic election, Barrack Obama signing into law, the Health care reform bill, has one moreÂ time elevated his presidency and etched his name into the records.
The President in that moment of time, climbed into the same golden dais, selectively carved out and constructed for those select few; the immortals, whose exceptional performances and strides, continue to inspire the authors of the American history.
The same American experience, would not fail to reserve a chapter or more for George Washington, the gentleman, the same writers refer to as the father of the nation. President Madison, the petit intellectual from Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, the unrepentant democrat from the same Virginia, down the line.
Then there is Franklin Roosevelt who secured Social Security for everybody. Most of the other Presidents, including the Republican, Teddy Roosevelt from Missouri, tried to bring Health care to every citizen. When he did not succeed, others like Nixon, J.F Kennedy and the Clintons really worked hard on this bill but it was a very difficult proposal. They all failed.
The situation was compounded when the the Late Teddy Kennedy’s senate seat was lost to the Republicans and with that the Democratic hold in the Congress was open to the Republican filibuster. The opposition rebounded.
The Democratic long universal goal of reforming Health care, at that point screeched to a stop.Â The hysteria erupted and the former Vice President, under Bush proclaimed Obama a one tenure President.Â Like every day in politics, the days are long and anything can happen.
The signing into law of this landmark legislation impacts a lot on the American, Nigerian and other foreigners resident in the US. From Florida, Vanguard received an immediate reaction from two top Nigerian medical practitioners.
Chief Adeola Odusanya, Rph, was the last President General, Oduduwa USA, and was a former Chairman of the Lagos State, Shomulu Local Government. He is a pharmacist and running the Choice pharmacy Incorporated with his partner, Dr. Ify Dike . Below are their reactions to the health care reform, for the United States and Nigeria.
Odusanya predicted that medical examinations and tests, like cancer screening will be conducted more effectively and help in diagnosis before the ailment gets out of hand.
”The bill is also going to help the practitioners to be able to do a proper follow up with their patients.Â Since there is assurance that their insurance policy will pay for such services.” The bill would also enhance efficiency on the parts of the practitioners because there will be less intervention from the insurance companies on what types of treatment or medication that is appropriate for the patients,” he said.
He said that the Nigerian medical practitioners account for about 8% of the total practitioners in Florida, while in Tampa Bay area alone, the percentage of Nigerian pharmacists is about 70% while the nurses about 60%.
He advised that Nigerian practitioners practicing in USA ”should organise and transform and implement the idea in Africa especially in Nigeria . This bill will definitely reduce the mortality rate in the continent,” he said.
On the other hand, Ify Dike, Pharm-D and a director with the Choice pharmacy, esplained that, ”as a healthcare professional and a business owner, ”I have two conflicting feelings about the universal healthcare.
As a professional, I have seen in my practice, patients, who ration their medications to stretch out, because of high cost of medication.” She disclosed that, ”this leads to non-compliance and complications, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, or diabetes.”Â Some of these patients, she continued, have to be referred to the emergency room for immediate intervention because they run the risk of stroke or renal failure as a result of uncontrolled blood pressure.
She told Vanguard that, ”one of her patients who had eye ulcer, was given a certain antibiotic ointment, and she had no insurance, and the antibiotic ointment calls for four times a day application…. one tube may not last for one week . She started skipping some doses to stretch the medication.
The infection was not healing, and she did not tell the doctor…Â When she brought that to my attention, I offered to pay for four more tubes of the ointment for her and asked her to make sure she used it as directed by the doctor.Â Now her eye is healed completely.Â There are so many of such people in our practice.”, she observed.
”When I was working with one of the chain pharmacies, I paid for so many peopleâ€™s medications who had no money to pick them up, some of them are childrenâ€™s antibiotics.Â I know some of my colleagues have done that too.Â So with universal coverage people can now be able to afford medication or go to their primary doctor for simple things like uncontrolled blood pressure or diabetes instead of using the emergency room.” Dr. Dike argued.
”As a business person, imposition of coverage to every employee can be a financial burden.Â If employer should extend coverage to every employee, the government should be able to give subsidy in a form of grant to those businesses.Â There are some businesses that are barely staying afloat; anymore financial stress will tip them over.” She assertedm over.” She asserted.