By: Balarabe Oshiafi
Title: More Than A Miracle
Year of Publication: 2018
Author: Chinwe Ezeanya
Publishers: Parresia Publishers Limited, Lagos
In 1997, I scripted for Stage Elechi Amadi’s Prose, The Concubine. While it was being interpreted at the National Theatre, Lagos, the Narrator (played by Victor Eze), captured the many and varied ups and downs of life thus: “Life is a battle. Battle to be born. Battle to metamorphose from infancy to adulthood. Battle to raise a family and battle for self actualization.
Life is a battle. When Chinwe Ezeanya and her Husband, Mike were joined in Holy Matrimony, they never contemplated that fate was waiting in the wings to attempt to shatter envisaged marital bliss and the accompanying fulfillment that go with the furtherance of procreation.
In this Book, vicissitudes of life appear to always lurk around this family as espoused in More Than A Miracle. This true life story which is authored by Mrs Ezeanya herself also celebrates the omniscience of the Supreme Being who superintends over Man’s sojourn on Earth.
This is a first person narrative which revolves around DIKE’AGHA KENECHUKWU NADIM YOBANNA VICTORY EZEANYA, now a ten year old big boy. Dike’s conception and birth witnessed intriguing family and cultural drama. Should we make one more attempt? Are the three Girls God has given us not okay? Although Mike was unperturbed as to whether they have a Male Child or not, the spirit of the high premium the average African family places on a Male child prevailed. The Couple met yet again. Dike eventually came into this troubled World by 11:14pm on January 7, 2008.
His arrival plunged the entire Ezeanya family, friends and well wishers into a celebratory mood which evaporated soon afterwards when the Boy was diagnosed of a baby killing Disease called Necrotizing Entereocolitis.
From this period till Dike landed in Apollo Hospital in India, several trials pertaining to the frustration the average Nigerian faces in healthcare delivery, mediocrity some of our Medical Practitioners exhibit, Family faith in God which went a long way to sustaining the patience of the Ezeanyas were witnessed.
In this context the Health Sector successfully served as an indicator of the endemic infrastructural decay and inefficiency in other major Sectors of the Nigerian Economy.
The Ezeanyas deserves special commendation from the Authorities for helping, through the Health challenge Dike and his Dad, Mike faced, to expose the lapses in healthcare delivery. I mean, the family needed two referrals. One for Dike and the other for his father who had pellets buried in his left arm as a result of gun shots he got during an armed robbery attack in 1997. Nigeria, what a Country!
More Than a Miracle is not just an account of the harrowing experience the Ezeanyas went through in securing cure for their today’s bundle of joy-Dike, it is a worthy contribution to medical literature that should be consumed widely in the academia.
The phenomenal, innovative and unprecedented nature of Dike health, travails and triumphs is best described in the words of Dr Neelam Mohann Director, Department of Pediatric Gastroenenterology, Hepatolology and Liver Transplantation, Medanta The Medicity Hospital-Gurgon, India. in the fourth paragraph of her foreword to the Book. She wrote, “One day, I suddenly got this idea-why can’t we swap donors to benefit two needy patients? This had never been done before in India and it needed a large surgical team for four to be operated on simultaneously (two patients and two donors)”
She continues in paragraph five, “After selecting the right swap donors and patients, we performed the surgery having taken permission from Government. Thereafter, the news of this breakthrough surgery was as rampant as wild fire in our country, both in the papers and electronic media, besides international coverage (Liver unites families across Continents) this was the first Swap Liver Transplant in India and it paved way for several others to follow thereafter”.
Biliary Atresia, the ailment for which Dike Ezeanya underwent a thirty-six hour surgery in the hands of thirty-six Surgeons is not an everyday condition. No doubt, both the Boy and the parents suffered but the experience has also thrown them into global reckoning. They have emboldened other families who came close to throwing their sick babies in the toilets or uncompleted buildings to seeking help.
The Book records on page 223, for instance, that after Dike, Hawii a Kenyan who had the same problem was also successfully operated upon in the same Hospital in India. Three other Nigerian Children referred by the author to the same Indian hospital were successfully operated upon.
Credit must go to the Author for her deft usage of Medical terms as though she had background training in the exact sciences whereas she studied a behavioral science course.
More Than A Miracle is animated by thematic relevance. It is bold, beautifully packaged with pictorial embellishments. It is scholarly. It is highly educative!