So I am to write about the nuances of living with HIV as a woman in Nigeria. My first thought was ‘ do you have time’? The issues leading up to and concerning the HIV + Nigerian women are many and multi-dimensional but they all point to one thing: culture. I will look at it from different angles, peppering it with true-life stories as we go along.
People I have told about my illness always ask the same question initially: How did you get it? My answer is always I do not know. I was not particularly cautious about not sharing blades or clippers, etc., so it could have been contracted through those means. But if truth were to be told, I was not particularly careful about my sexual dalliances either. And this is my first ‘port of call’ on this topic: Prevention.
She made the wrong choice…whether because she knew no better or was simply nonchalant…and she was paying the ultimate price for that wrong decision!
A young lady had been rushed into the hospital in shock from massive haemorrhage following an attempt to deliver “normally” at a traditional birth attendant’s place. Ironically, she was a known patient of this hospital who had defaulted care after being counselled on the need to have an elective (planned) Caesarean section (CS) in view of the fact that she had already had two (2) previous CSs.
A quick assessment showed that she had suffered a Uterine rupture (her womb had torn open inside her) and the baby was already dead in her, but she still needed a surgery to have any chance of surviving and she was going to need lots of blood. She was quickly resuscitated and moved to the theatre where fortunately the surgeons were able to put together the uterus…but she had lost so much blood that her platelets (the important blood constituent that help to stop bleeding by promoting clotting) had been used up (a feared complication referred to as Disseminated Intravascular Coagulopathy – DIC). She was going to need urgent transfusions with Platelet concentrates (a blood product) or freshly donated whole blood ( cos platelets don’t survive/last long once the blood is removed from the human circulation). Unfortunately, none of these were available in the hospital’s blood bank, only a few units of old stored blood which would do her no good! Her husband and relatives were informed to do their utmost to get her fresh whole blood, unfortunately their own blood groups were not a match for hers. They set off into town at that late hour of the night to look for blood or donors.
Surgery was over, and there she lay in the recovery room bleeding out slowly from every puncture and incision site. There was nothing else the Doctors could do but wait and hope for blood to come. She died 3 hours later…with no sight of blood!
YOU COULD HAVE SAVED HER IF YOU DONATED BLOOD VOLUNTARILY TO THE HOSPITAL’S BLOOD BANK…THEY WOULD HAVE A STOCK OF FRESH BLOOD WAITING IF WE ALL DID!
Our nation’s healthcare facilities suffer a recurrent scarcity of blood and blood products which frequently translates into untimely deaths for many folks in dire need of blood.
Voluntary blood donation is a safe and healthy practice that would ensure that the blood banks of our hospitals have a constant supply of blood for patients.
The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), with offices in every state capital around the country, is saddled with the task of collecting blood from voluntary donors and distributing same to health facilities according to demand.
You can donate blood as often as thrice a year with no untoward consequences. Your red blood cells have a lifespan of about 90 days and are totally replaced by your body in that time so whether you donate it or not, it’s used up and refreshed regularly.
Pls make voluntary blood donation a regular practice…the life saved may just be that of someone dear to you!
The mere mention of HIV or AIDS is enough to evoke terror in any audience. It is difficult to believe that just 32 years ago, no one knew this illness existed. Now, AIDS is a global catastrophe that virtually everybody is aware of. Continue reading HIV/AIDS→