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Foundation raises awareness on avoidable deaths


By Adekunle Yusuf


In line with its determination to raise awareness and consciousness about Nigeria’s health care workers and practitioners, the Mahuemolen Aduke Odibo Foundation (MAOF) has said it will bridge the gap between law and medicine by making Nigerian patients aware of their rights and duties as enshrined in our laws.

This, according to MAOF, is aimed at reducing medical malpractices and negligence. It will also assist practitioners live up to their responsibilities in order to avert potential lawsuits emanating from negligence. This was the fallout of the official launch of the foundation in Lagos.

The founder, Barr (Mrs.) Cecilia Odibo, said she decided to put the foundation together – alongside other trustees – after the tragic and painful death of her daughter, Miss Mahuemolen Aduke Odibo, then a final year law undergraduate at the University of Lagos on August 10, 2017.

Mahuemolen died as a result of incompetence in the administration of oxygen, which eventually led to respiratory failure, a condition that was further complicated by the drip stripe connecting hydrating water/fluid flow to her lungs instead of her vein.

An autopsy conducted after her death revealed respiratory failure, severe pulmonary oedema and sickle cell haemoglobinopathy (clinical) as secondary cause of death. It was revealed that the first two causes were factors that could have been effectively managed in the hospital but for lack of competence on the part of the medical professionals.

Her pains notwithstanding, Mrs. Odibo resolved to immortalise her daughter, a victim of medical negligence and to ensure that she raises awareness about avoidable and negligent deaths in hospitals and to encourage other parents who maybe facing similar challenges. “I resolved in my heart to put the painful death of my daughter behind me and to champion the cause to ensure that our medical workers, practitioners and professional are diligent while handling patients,” she said.

Apart from raising awareness and consciousness about avoidable deaths, Mrs. Odibo stressed that the foundation will also advocate principles that apply to the areas of diagnostics and treatment in which difficulties most frequently arises and to equally assist patients in public hospitals, especially those suffering from sickle cell anaemia.

This is in addition to ensuring that patients have the right to know the type of prescriptions being administered on them and the implication on their health. It also aims to ensure that medical practitioners are transparent and accountable to their patients always.

Furthermore, the foundation is also advocating for improved capacity among young medical practitioners and to liaise and cooperate with the government and other organisations with similar objectives in furtherance of achieving the foundation’s aims and objectives.

In carrying out these functions, it would also accept donations that are specifically consistent with its aims and objectives.

Since there have been numerous reports about avoidable deaths as a result of medical and professional negligence, Mrs. Odibo said she is ready to provide psychological and medicolegal support to people confused when such incidents occur, especially in the area of whether to allow for an autopsy for their dead relatives.

“People believe an autopsy opens fresh pains and agony, however this is false, an autopsy provides further insight and is never a waste of resources, it reveals what the mind cannot comprehend and settles any form of assumptions.”

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