The Nigerian health care sector is filled with many dilemmas, many of which can rend any frail heart into many pieces. However, the greatest of all these oddness is the one that patients with little or no money face. Often, they is no free treatment for them when they present any illness, but then, when they are treated and made well, they are often not allowed to go unless they pay!
It's quite puzzling, right? Because they can only pay for their bills if they work yet they cannot be released from the hospital to go source for funds. This situation has many dynamics to it which cannot all be taken into account.
However, putting aside this dilemma, the one question that is usually prompted by a delve into this subject is this - who will come to their aid, who will be the unseen angel that will work the magic these poor patients need to be free both health wise and financially?
Well, one man Zeal Akaraiwai decided to act rather than think too much. He decided to be that much needed angel because, according to him, one can only be the angel one hopes to meet.
In a crisp, squeaky clean attire, Zeal who is in his forties rides an equally clean ride to a government hospital that is on the edge of a road that is in shambles. He braces himself for the task that is ahead of him. Then, he walks in to a very familiar reception, asks for the all important list and gets to work.
What is work, you might wonder? Well, work for this man who is a financial consultant is simply listening to some social workers talk on about how some patients have remained in the hospital for six to eight weeks for reasons beyond them. Then he goes on to visit the patients on his list, chit-chatt with them, and then, secretly pay the amount of money that was supposed to be their outstanding bill.
Most of these patients are often always well enough to leave the hospital but because they cannot pay their bills, they are usually retained. To solve this problem, Zeal has taken it as a duty to pay their bills.
There was the case of a young barber whose only offence was stepping out at the wrong time. He was stabbed by Only-God-knows.who, and just like that, he found himself in a hospital. He was well treated. Good news. But then, he did not have the money to pay for his bill. Hence, he was retained.
When he thought all hope was lost, angel 'Zeal' visited him, asked how he was doing and said, "So how're you going to settle your hospital bill?". The barber replied by saying he was praying to God. Well, his prayer got answered because his bill of almost N90,000 was paid by an 'unknown person'.
But then, how about those who are accumulating expenses and are still not getting better? Well, for Zeal, he would be digressing out of his calling if he helped people like these. Take the case of a woman inflicted with serious stroke. Her family is owing the hospital a lot of money but even if this money is paid, it won't help her get better.
Although Zeal was sad about the woman's problem, he had to turn away from the case. For him, realising his Christian faith meant granting people who have been given a second chance a reason to want to use that chance and live better.
However, Zeal admitted to the BBC correspondent who interviewed him that he sometimes digressed from this strict stance of his. He talked about the case of the woman with hysterectomy which made her bleed for 11 months. He paid for her treatment because she had the potential to be well.
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Then, there was another kid who had his son's eyes as well as leg ulcer. He took to paying this little girl's treatment bill and he will continue to pay for her bills until she recovers. For Zeal, being involved in this kind of charity work has made him see the impact of not having health insurance. For this reason, he asked, "So where do you want to put the price of a human life?"
While this question cannot be readily answered, Zeal has taken to being the angel who shows interest in human life. By the way, the name of Zeal's venture is Angel's Project.
With the elderly gentleman putting a lot of ginger into the health industry, Legit.ng cannot help but remind readers about a corps member who paid the hospital bills of a lady detained after a miscarriage.
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