Sunday, March 3, 2024

GAL FRIDAY: QEH needs general cleaning


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WHEN LAST have you been to HMH, Martindales? I’m talking about Her Majesty’s Hospital: the QEH. Unfortunately, I had to pay a visit to an ailing acquaintance a few weeks ago.

While I have experienced excellent attention from some of whom I consider to be the most highly trained doctors in these parts, I must say, the place could do with a thorough cleaning, man. I know you may say we’re already struggling to pay bills for supplies and we have concerns with inadequate room, but cuh dear … I didn’t want to even touch my dog when I returned home. I even disrobed at the door.

There is a novel by Ayi Kwei Armah called, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. It speaks to the nastiness contained in the crevices of a bannister, from the caresses of people’s palms as they go up and down the stairs. It is metaphorical for corruption in Ghana, and is as graphic a description of dirt as you could possibly get. While I am not as versed as Armah in vividly depicting dirtiness, (and while he uses words that are too obscene for this esteemed paper) I will take a dig at it.

Picture this: you try finding a park on the outskirts of the hospital, (since there are none available on the compound) in an empty lot, apparently trampled on by dinosaurs in their heyday or a recent tractor driver, under the influence. Mud kisses your soles as you squirm in disdain. By the time you enter and head towards the elevator, the muckiness of the doors direct you to take the stairs, where you see a pair of dirty dentures on the floor of the first flight. Dentures!?!

If these walls could talk, they would surely reveal tales of neglect; caked up dust as each year expires. You gasp as you glance the filthy ventilation blocks. Dirty walls, haphazard heaps of notices upon notices on the notice board. You then notice the floor – the broken pieces at the edges of some of the steps – and you tread a bit more carefully. You finally get to your destination, where a multitude awaits. Fortuitously, the nurse’s smile almost eliminates the misery of your upward trek.

Has anyone done a quick-and-dirty study of how much a general cleaning would cost each month? The place is supposed to be one where sickness is cured; not caused … where disease is eliminated; not where bacteria proliferate.

On the topic of healing, let’s pass over some water and go to Trinidad. Apparently, Patrick Manning has turned down the offer of T&T’s highest national award, stating that Kamla Persad-Bissessar is the country’s “weakest Prime Minister”. It just makes one wonder if it were a display of her ostensible ‘weakness’ in 2012 when she directed the keepers of the national purse to “spare no resources” with regard to giving Manning the best possible medical care and attention. As old folks like me would surmise, “he belly full, so he now beginning to bray.”

Veoma Ali is an author, actor, broadcaster, advertising exec and, most important, a karaoke lover.



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