Team Member was born hours after the news stations reported a bomb blast in the United Nation’s headquarters in the capital territory of Nigeria, Abuja. On August 26 2011, Member Hembadoon Feese a 23-year-old post-graduate student was confirmed as being in the UN building at the time of the bomb. Her car was in the parking lot, her mobile phone was off, and her body was missing. The panic escalated as the race to find Member began. Trawling through hospital, sorting through victims, Member was finally discovered in the Intensive Care Unit of the National Hospital. Able doctors, despite valiant fighting were too powerless to combat the obvious; a protracted lack of facilities.
36 Hours Later…
2 parents, 2 siblings, 100s of friends & supporters and several surgeries later; it was clear that Member’s chances of surviving were extremely slim if she remained within Nigeria. The facilities, or lack of same, would be her death it appeared. With a severely damaged and heavily infected left leg, injured lungs and substantial injuries to various body parts, the 5’3, 60 kg lithe frame of Miss Feese had taken a battering. A battering her country, Nigeria, was clearly unable to fix. Member had to be evacuated as soon as possible or her condition would deteriorate quickly. On the Sunday following the bomb blast which killed over 20 people, Member was airlifted to the United Kingdom where she underwent extensive, life-saving medical treatment.
What Went Wrong?
Member’s story evinces the dilapidated state of the Nigerian health care system. A few of the obvious problems with the system as reflected in Member’s tale include;
A disturbing lack of equipment in the National Hospital, the premier public hospital of the Federation housed in the capital territory, Abuja; the CT scanner though present…did not have a connecting cable. As such, the said equipment was useless.
Oxygen had to be manually pumped as there were no ventilators. This single act almost lead to Member’s demise as the constant motion of the machine compressed a lung further. The platelete machine was away from the hospital and with an individual in a different state insinuating a system of borrowing and exchanging is in existence. To the detriment of some patients.
No equipped ambulance are in existence despite the profusion of buses decorated with the ambulance sigma. Many nurses and support staff are poorly trained for the career and are responsible for substantial post-traumatic stress disorder damage due to the cavalier attitude exhibited to both patients and traumatised families.
The clear absence of a chain of command made communication, particularly, difficult.
Team Member was born on the day of the bomb blast, Friday 26th August 2011. It originally began on Blackberry Messenger with five of Member’s friends as the only members. A small group whose purpose was to share updates about Member, encourage each other, and spread positivity to mobilize support for Member. Soon, the positivity of the group, through message and the encouragement for Member and for each other, attracted many others. As Member grew in strength, so did the Group. As she regained her identity and focus, she returned whole in mind to speak out against the injustices in Nigeria. And so did Team Member. The Group has continued to grow in strength, advancing from being merely a support group to an advocacy group but our message remains the same at the core; Positivity and Support, in a fight for a better tomorrow.
Join us, tomorrow is just beginning.