THE SECRET #10: Diary of a Village Pharmacist

I couldn’t believe my ears!
“You mean say you don go lab do HIV test?”
She nodded
“When my sickness come dey serious and ee wan be like say I wan die, I come dey suspect say na the same sickness do my oga dat time. I tell am say he know wetin dey do me and he dey see say I dey die. Na dat time my oga come write XYZ test for paper. He come send me go lab. When result come say I dey positive, he come carry me go the General Hospital whey dem dey treat am”

I sighed.

“The tin whey pain me pass be say when him sick dat first time. I follow am go hospital go do the test. You no beleef say when dem wan tell him the result, dem say make I comot. I ask dem why dem no wan tell me, I tell dem say I be him, wfie, Dem no answer me. And my oga no tell me. That man wicked!”

Tears welled up in my eyes…

“So you don dey take the medicine?” I asked

“Yes o. As I come start na that time I come dey get mysef”

Every now and then she comes to the Pharmacy for her refills and BP check. She is doing much better now.

But I can’t help thinking she would have avoided getting HIV if I had broken this confidentiality rule

My Pharmacy is now an out-patient center for people living with HIV.

One of the things we do when they come for their refills is to fill a questionnaire.

One question there says “Does your partner know your HIV status?”

I am so concerned about the many NO responses

Another question says, “Do you use a condom during every encounter?”

You can guess what the response is!

They say the goal is to achieve ZERO new cases.

Can this really happen?
Just thinking aloud.

I remain Aunty Pharmacist!



THE SECRET #9: Diary of a Village Pharmacist

Our training teaches confidentiality.

Keep mute. Don’t tell tales.

And I obeyed

Oh! It was a struggle in this case.

Mrs Jo kept coming for her refills and BP check.

I will ask her about her husband.

“He dey fine. Aunty Pharmacy, God bless you well well. He don get himself well”

“Hmmm, thank God” I will respond.

One day I asked her if she had followed her husband to the hospital at any time.

“No ma. Why you ask?”

“Nothing”, I quickly said.

I didn’t see Mrs Jo after that day. Neither did I see Mr Jo.

I dialed Mr Jo’s number one day.

It rang

And rang

I redialed

And redialed

Finally he picked up my call

“Hello sir”

“Hello madam, I will call you later”

He hung uo before I could reply

Some months passed by.

Then one day, Mrs Jo came to the Pharmacy.

What a transformation!

Her complexion was markedly darker.

She had lost so much weight

Oh my God!

“Madam, how are you?” I looked at her closely

“Fine” She was avoiding my eyes

“Wetin happen na. You don change” I was curious, even though I knew the reason for her demeanor.

She smiled.
“Na recession tins dey happen”

Recession things my foot!

“Dis one pass reccession tins madam. Your face don change and you no fat again”

She sighed

“Hmm, I don dey get mysef now o. You for see me before. I sick no be small”

“You go hospital?”

“Yes ma. Na there I dey since”

“Wetin dem tell you say dey do you?”

“Dem no really tell me”

Now I had had enough!

I was really angry

“Madam, come make we talk” I ushered her into my office.

“You need to do some test. And the test dey important. Today today you go do am!”

“Your husband no tell you about the sickness whey do am dat time?”

“No ma”

“Hmm. You see, you need to go do HIV test”

She broke down and started crying

“I don do am”

(Like seriously???)

To be continued

THE SECRET #8: Diary of a Village Pharmacist

To my greatest suprise, Mr Jo himself reported to the Pharmacy to pay his debt that very evening!

“Aunty Pharmacy, you try for me today o. Thank you very much.”

“Thank God you are much better. So let’s talk” I usher him into my office

“Tell me the truth, you have stopped taking your medicine, abi”

“No be lie”

“Why na?”

“As I see say I don well, na him make me relax”

“Shebi dem warn you for hospital say make you no stop. I even warn you on top sef.”

He hung his head.

I shook my head

Husband and wife na the same tin.

“See, tomorrow like dis, you go rush go hospital go report yoursef. Dem go shout for your head, no be small. Just beg dem well well.”

“Yes ma”

“Show dem the medcicine whey I give you”

“Yes ma”

“You don tell your wife wetin dey do you?”

No answer

“And you still dey touch am?”

No answer

“Dis tin whey you dey do wicked o”

“I know. I go try tell am”

“Abeg, carry her go there make she go do her own test”

“Ok, I go carry her go”

To be continued

THE SECRET #7: Diary of a Village Pharmacist

“Good morning ma, Please I want to see you”

I looked up at the boy at the pharmacy gate.

It was a late Wednesday morning. I had sent the morning staff on an errand and was the only one present at the Pharmacy.

“Good morning dear. How can I help you?” I asked

“My father is very sick. He has been stooling for some days. Now he is so weak he cannot even walk. We are so confused. There is no money because my father has not gone to work since. Please can you sell me medicine on credit?”

Oh no! Not again. I’m tired of selling on credit. So many begging for help. How many people can I help?

“Plaese ma. I promise you that when my father is well he will bring the money”

I looked at this albino boy. And my heart melted.

“Who is your dad, I asked?”

“Mr Jo, that Calabar man. You know my mother very well, she used to check her BP here”

Mr Jo again? Most likely, he has stopped his Anti-Retroviral medications.

I figured out what could be wrong and gave his son some medications that I could afford to part away with, just in case he defaulted.

I handed him the medications with the receipt.

“Thank you ma. God will surely bless you.”

“Tell your dad to try and see me today. The ORS will give him strength.

To be Continued

THE SECRET #6: Diary of a Village Pharmacist

Diary of a Village Pharmacist

“Aunty, Mrs Jo is here to see you”. My counter assistant said. She knew Mrs Jo very well.

“Have you checked her BP?”

“Yes ma.” She handed me Mrs Jo’s Omron Connect card where she had recorded it

This woman! She hadn’t learnt her lesson.

“She can come in” I said

“Good evening, Mrs Jo. Sit down.”

She pointed to her face.

“The tin don start again.” Her speech was kind of slurred.

“I can see. But shebi I warn you” I was getting angry. Why didn’t she take her health seriously. Must she wait till things fall apart before she acts?

“Wetin I go do now?”

“You go start your medicine now now. No miss any dose.” I go ask doctor wetin again we fit do

Some people are just lucky!

She kuku got better. This time she became serious with her medications.

So you see, I know Mrs Jo very well…

I looked at Mr Jo. He couldn’t look me in the eye.

“And you dey touch your wife abi? You no use condom, abi? You never tell am wetin dey do you, abi?”

(Was I becoming judgemental?)

“No worry, I go tell am”, he promised

To be continued

THE SECRET #5: Diary of a Village Pharmacist

I had known Mrs Jo for some years. I cannot forget the first day she came to my Pharmacy. Her face was so comical. As I write iI can’t help chuckling! It was as if her face had split in 2 from top to bottom. One part appeared normal, the other, very odd.

Check her blood pressure, my mind said. BP turned out to be very very high!

Thankfully the Omron Connect pilot project was on at our Pharmacy and we were able to get her to see the cardiologist on the project.

(I later got to know she was experiencing Bell’s palsy)

She was prescribed medications and eventually, after some weeks her BP and face normalized.

And she stopped her medications.

Because activity done with the patient on the Omron Connect program was documented, it was easy for me to track her adherence problem.

“Hello madam, longest time” I called her one day.

“Aunty Pharmacy! Good afternoon ma”

“Good afternoon. I say make I find out how you dey. He don tay whey you come check your BP”

“As I don dey OK, na him make me no come check”

“You still dey use your medicine?”

“No na. Shebi my BP don correct?”

“Ha! Madam, na the BP medicine dey epp you. If you stop, BP go increase. Abeg, try come check am”, I implored.

“Ok ma. I go come.”

But I never saw her.

Till one day…

To be continued

THE SECRET #4: Diary of a Village Pharmacist

“Aunty Pharmacy, God bless you” This was Mr Jo, 2 months later. He looked much better. The lesions had cleared. He had added some weight.

“E don tey. I no see you since” I replied

“Aunty no vex say I no come since.”
“No wahala”, I responded
“Na dat tin whey you talk dey worry me true true. Chai! I don spend money die. I even sell half of my land when money no dey. If to say I hear you dat first time, I no for spend money like dis.”

“Thank God say you don get yourself.” I was so happy.

You don dey take the medicine?” I asked him

“Yes o. Na from the hospital I just dey come now. Dem dey give me the medicine for free”

“Abeg o, no use your medicine play o. Take am everyday, even if you dey fine. Na d medicine dey make the virus no disturb you. If you stop ehn, na wahala be dat” I warned

“Yes ma. I no go stop” He assured me

Then it occurred to me!

“Ehen, come o, you don tell your wife? She know wetin dey happen?

“Ehm… I go tell am”

“Ha! When you wan tell am? I hope say you dey use condom”


Can you imagine?

Dis man no try o!

To be continued