Right? Not Quite!
AGPMPN Sango Zonal Official: Please may we help you?
Dr Akindele: My name is Dr Tosin Akindele
Official: From which hospital?
Dr Akindele: No particular hospital in fact. I have been unemployed for about 18 months now....but...
Official: Where did you train?
Dr Akindele: College of Medicine of the University of Lagos.
Official: And who invited you to this meeting?
Dr Akindele: Dr Kukoyi.
Dr Akindele: I was secretary of AGPMPN Ikorodu zone, represented the zone on the Quackery Committee at the state level, and was in fact the inaugural secretary of the committee.
(So I rambled on like a man surely sinking but so unwilling to give up! That last litany of info was quite unnecessary... at least not so early in my encounter with the young man!
So blame me for ranting like a quack and you won't be far from the truth!)
Mr Official briefly left me to consult with another officer whose air of importance suggested that he might be the Chairman, then returned...
His words (as he walked me out): "You say you're a doctor. Right? There is a procedure for joining this zone. You say you were invited by Dr Kukoyi. We are about to start the meeting. Wait for Dr Kukoyi outside. As soon as he comes, both of you may enter"!
My Cascade of Reactions...
Initially...inward anger! (Why would the need to screen out quacks now have Drs as casualties?)
Then...elation! (If doctors must suffer these indignities just so quackery is weeded out of medicine, we should gain in the long run!)
Followed again by anger! (The Sango-Otta axis is awash with stand-alone quacks...the highest incidence I have seen so far. So, why all this "gra gra" to preclude qualified Drs when quacks are left to fluorsh?
I had expected Mr Official to place a call to Dr Kukoyi, the man that invited me to that particular meeting....even as it became glaring that the man may not be attending the meeting. I resisted the temptation to place a call to the man.....considering the rude reception I earlier had in his office.
Dr Kukoyi appears old enough and respectable enough in the profession....judging by his motley of grey hair...and the sheer monstosity of his practice.
Aptly named Medicare Clinic and primly situated in high-brow Otta, it is sandwiched between a bank outlet and some other high-octane commercial outfit right there on the expressway leading to Idi-Iroko.
You see, as I shivered in the drenching rain, my starved frame precarously perched on an Okada, I needed to muster all my willpower to persist with the trip. The cyclist had to come drop me on the return journey after doing a U-Turn at Obasanjo Farms as the frost on my lenses blurred my vision on the initial approach!
As I crossed the highway and jogged into the hospital, I was shown into his private reception...to wait for the next two hours. I had no prior appointment...and oga was busy doing a Ward round.
As soon as he came in, I practically flew to attention with a most respectful if not anxious "Good Morning Sir!" to which he gave a barely audible reply. Oga proceeded into his office...then another wait...lasting an hour at the least.
And when I was finally invited into his office, he kept hitting the table with the back of his hand in apparent impatience as he asked me to "report at the next meeting".... Throughout the entire conversation, he bluntly refused to offer me a seat and insisted that "the meeting would be a better forum to proffer a solution to my problem"! But I had not told him I had a problem!
Having come highly recommended by a male nurse and the Okada man, I was taken aback by his sheer brusqueness and crudity. It seems senior colleagues have a way of being "nice" to everyone other than fellow doctors!
I was quite appreciative of the fact that he saw me without an appointment. Afterall, not everyone would promptly usher every Jack, Dick and Harry into his office like me so long as such visitor was confirmed to be a doctor. The waiting time for Drs in my practice was near-zero...even if I was seeing a patient...except such patient refused!
My usual line was "Madam, you paid for only one doctor o. But now, you have the chance of being seen by two... or three doctors! You know, two heads are better than one"! Better if it's a Ward round. Visiting doctors were routinely invited except patients refused the offer.
Back to the meeting...
For starters, this was not a social club. So why should personal invitations take precedence over certificates? That is, if responsible officers were to confirm authenticity with issuing authorities! And I was armed with mine...complete with pictures!
As inaccurate as this initial assessment was, I believe it would not have flopped me so badly if the two colleagues I saw prior to the meeting had apprised me of the procedure peculiar to this zone.
Yet, joining that zone..or indeed any zone of the association is the last thing on my mind at this point in time. At this present moment, I do not own a practice....hold down any job....or indeed earn any income...
So, how do I pay the dues?
I had kept a date with that meeting just because Dr Kukoyi said so...and so people wouldn't turn back to say..."the man wouldn't have invited you to the meeting if he had no plans for you"...
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.