Thursday, May 16, 2013

يمهل ولا يهمل



Now that is one LONG road to walk
I worry about this government, because its members are now showing signs of insanity. They’ve always been stupid, greedy, homicidal, but insanity is something new. Several events have led to this assumption, not least of which was the latest instalment in the hospital-selling series, and the new bus stop in Sharwani. Also, today I listened to some horrific statistics about migration of doctors and nurses (almost 10,000 in 2012 alone!), and the equally horrific response of senior officials: so what?
Ombada Hospital is a relatively new hospital of fair size and capacity, and located on (what used to be) the outskirts of the capital. I remember when we used to go there for our OBGYN clinical round back in medical school we would drive for ages through neighbourhoods made out of cardboard until we passed Soug Libya and meet the beginning of the Shiryan Alshamal road we take to Karima, then the hospital would appear on our left. At the time there wasn’t a dialysis center; the center was built in 2010. This was the same center my late aunt Allah yer7ama had her sessions. I met the director of the center yesterday and again today during the forum I organized for the institute (which was a nightmare, but that’s a whole different post), and she told me that the center was being torn down. Torn down? I remembered my aunt saying the hospital had fallen to pieces and so was the center, was it old or just not built properly? It wasn’t old at all, it was being torn down because the hospital had been sold. To, as usual, a Saudi investor. Aji yakhwani?! They sold Ombada Hospital to a foreign investor, who was tearing it down because he wanted to build his own 5-star private hospital? In OMBADA? The whole point of building that hospital was because the people of that area can’t even afford the bus ride into town for medical care. That hospital was the first in a very large area of nothing, with an insanely high population density most of whom have moved in from the states and taken up shanty housing. And having a dialysis center is for the same reason: geographical distribution of patients. I shudder to think how much sooner my aunt would have died if she had had to go to the second nearest dialysis center in the military hospital twice a week (instead of 3 times because 3 times is a luxury despite being a necessity), when she couldn’t even lift herself out of bed. Apparently, the foreign investor was not interested in keeping any of the original parts of the hospital – including the dialysis center. So they simply unplugged the machines and patients and moved them to other parts of Omdurman: to the children’s hospital, and one machine which is Hep C +ve to Alnow hospital. Just like that. And in the past week, FIVE PATIENTS died because they were old and couldn’t make it to the new centers and didn’t get their sessions. Just like that.
Building a renal dialysis center is no joke. You need water connections and purifying stations, constant source of electricity, and lots of space. Machines are very expensive and the disposable material almost just as much. The proportion of the population with end stage renal disease is soaring, and getting a regular place on a machine in any center is almost impossible. Patients stay in line sometimes waiting for another patient to die to be able to take their place. It’s a nightmare. I thank God a million times that my own grandfather hasn’t needed anymore dialysis sessions otherwise we would’ve been part of this nightmare as well, and it’s bad enough as it is.
The other sign of insanity is the new bus stop where half the buses were moved to from their original place in Alhurria just before the bridge. That wasn’t even where they were to start with; they used to be in Alsoug Alarabi where I used to go to when I was in college. When I lived in Bahri I would ride to Abo Jinzeer, and from there walk literally all the way across Alsoug Alarabi to get to the minibuses that would take me to Elmogran, and then walk from there to college. The whole thing took about an hour, but going back home was a different story. If I didn’t manage to get there and get on a bus before 3 pm, I could forget about getting home before dark. When we moved to Khartoum it was more or less the same journey: from my house to the same place, but then a shorter walk to the Omdurman station where I would get on another set of minibuses and get off just a 2 minute walk from college. It wasn’t that bad, really, and even though it involved long walking distances it was still in one place and no walk would take more than 5 minutes. Then they decided to clean up the area because they wanted to build that fancy mall and other such places, and the buses were moved to probably the worst place they could be in, next to Alhurria which is already a nightmare of a road, and one that doesn’t have the capacity to hold 10 carros, let alone hundreds of buses.
But this is something new. Now people have to walk about 20 or 25 minutes in this baking heat to get to their other bus, going to or coming from Omdurman. Because the wali woke up one morning and said: let’s move the bus stop! And that’s just what happened. In one day they pushed Omdurman from one side of a very long road to the other side. Just like that. I don’t wonder what he/they were thinking, because we know that thinking requires a brain which is something we know for a fact does not exist in certain people of certain political affiliation. What I do wonder about is how do these people come up with these ideas? No, seriously, who would think of moving an entire bus stop and throw it 5km away from the rest of the transport system? I mean, it’s bad enough people have to take public transport anyway, which already involves loads of walking in all sorts of weather. And what problem is this supposed to solve, if that was the whole point?
This is getting serious. I think we need a doctor and quick, because God knows what would come next. We’ve already heard of things as ridiculous as market entry fees. The hospital selling spree is hitting crazy heights, and Khartoum Hospital is already getting torn down. I went to the medical commission today to get a yellow fever vaccination, and was surprised that you have to pay 101 pounds just for the card. Every time I think I’ve seen all the ways the government makes money from the people, and just how much, I’m surprised by something new like this. Every time I think we’ve seen the extent of the torture the government has made the mission of their lives to inflict on the people, we find that actually, there’s more to come. We might wake up one day to find they’ve decided to take down all the bridges because the metal interferes with their state of the art defence machines. Or that anyone with a white car is to be fined for having the same coloured car as the president. Or whatever!
By the way, did you hear the news? Army personnel will now be getting a 22% increase in their salaries. Just like that. Wal ma 3ajbo, ye7lig 7awajbo.

اتق دعوة المظلوم فليس بينه و بين الله حجاب

6 comments:

  1. My eyes read your post and my heart recites
    قَوْله تَعَالَى : فَلَوْلَا إِذْ جَاءَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوا وَلَكِنْ قَسَتْ قُلُوبهمْ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمْ الشَّيْطَان مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ * فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَاب كُلِّ شَيْء حَتَّى إِذَا فَرِحُوا بِمَا أُوتُوا أَخَذْنَاهُمْ بَغْتَة فَإِذَا هُمْ مُبْلِسُونَ

    I wonder if they see that far!!!




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  2. I don't know if I've commented before - but I love, love, love your blog. The VERY first true Sudanese voice I've found on the Internet! Thanks for being awesome!

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  3. Anonymous: that's exactly what goes through my mind.
    Razan: thanks!

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  4. اللهم لا تصلط علينا بذنوبنا من لا يخافك و لا يرحمنا. رب ما قدرناك حق قدرك و لكنك عفو تحب العفو فأعفو عنا.
    Dr. Reem. So pleased to have found your blog. It's Sayed (your Barloom). Congrats for your voice of honesty and reason. Keep up, hopefully we'll wake up of this nightmare someday.

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  5. I have must've read through 12 articles of yours just today, and they are pleasant, truthful and extremely well written. However it comes back to the same question,what do we need to fix sudan? A reset button? How drastic of a change is needed to make this country a place where next generations can call home. Brain drain is at an all time high, so is inflation we are heading into what's mostly unknown and the only know part is we are heading in the wrong direction. Its time we take this country's fate into our own hands, what other choice do we have?

    Your Newest and Biggest Fan,

    Mak

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    1. Hi Mak
      Thank you for the compliments! I'm happy you enjoyed my posts, my fan base is at an all-time low these days hahah. So its nice to know that someone's still reading. You asked the million dollar question my friend: what do we need to do? A reset button sounds just about right, but alas is not an option. I wish I had an answer, but all I can say and do is to just keep going, doing what little we can and keep hoping and believing that things will change for the better. They always do, in sha' Allah.

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