An article caught my attention on Linda Ikeji’s blog, with the screaming headline: ‘I’ve been diagnosed with hypertension so I have to relocate from Nigeria.’

A heart wrenching statement from foremost Nollywood actor and director Kunle Afolayan, this is undoubtedly going to be a monumental brain drain that can take Nollywood and Nigerian entertainment back a couple of years.

But the issue is not about Nollywood, the issue is about a person’s life,well-being and mortality; so one has to understand where he is coming from.

Reading this my mind went to the thousands of hypertensives that pass through the hospital where I work daily and I almost shed a tear; have we (Nigerian doctors) so failed our patients that ‘common’ hypertension they no longer trust us to manage? Has the fear of hypertension become worse than insecurity and unemployment? This is an indictment on us the health practitioners.

I reassured myself that it probably was due to other factors, probably in the Nollywood industry that informed his decision.

So since I cannot create a hashtag that would go viral, I want to plead in my own way:


To back up my plea, I came up with


1. We are (or were) the happiest people on earth, so if you feel stress would lead you to developing hypertension, then you are in the best place to prevent that.

2. Stress is not the leading cause of hypertension, I recently checked the blood pressure of a highly strung, extremely stressed and volatile executive, his Blood pressure at first reading, just after shouting on an employee was 120/85. which a lot of us ‘unstressed’ can’t boast of. The leading cause of hypertension is unidentifiable in most cases. Can a bit of stress be essential to good health? I would think yes.

3. Most likely Kunle would want to relocate to a western society, but it is a known fact that western diet increases the predisposition to obesity and high cholesterol that can predispose to hypertension.

4. It is hard to develop a sedentary lifestyle in Nigeria unlike western societies, even if you sit down in your house, one intrusive neighbour will knock on your door and say,’Kunle you no go commot house today?’

5. The mere thought of the cost of relocating, settling, flight, family visas, tax and children’s school-fees abroad is enough to develop hypertension.

6. Our anti hypertensive drugs are very cheap, with some costing as little as 1000 naira (about 6 dollars) for a month supply while in the west you can pay anything from about 30 dollars to 90 dollars per month for medications.

7. We have numerous cardiologists in Nigeria today, some are even looking for work. Hypertension is no longer a big deal to them. By the way you are likely to meet a Nigerian doctor in whatever country you go to abroad.

8. Doctors like me who have toiled and sweated through the rigors of 7 years of medical school, one year house-manship, one year youth service and donkey years afterwards to be able to care for you will be heart broken that we have gone through all that toil in vain.-

9. Other risk factors like smoking and alcohol which are sometimes referred to as cool in western societies are not really encouraged here, besides a bottle of beer costs more than a liter of fuel. Think about that.

10. Hypertension doesn’t kill, it is the complications that can lead to mortality, this however can be prevented by living a active life with proper exercises and diet. By the way I saw an 87 year old hypertensive this week, looking at her I would predict at least 13 more years to live.

I hope with the above you see that hypertension is really no big deal, but if you still decide to check out, I have only one request:

Can I be your personal physician?

Image courtesy informationng.com

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