Robyn Lee/Flickr

Suikervrije gezondheidszorg

LAGOS – Toen ik onlangs een diner bijwoonde in een restaurant in Abuja, de hoofdstad van Nigeria, zag een stel dat niet goed bij elkaar paste. De man leek op z'n minst zestig, maar was gekleed in nauwsluitende jeans en een nauwsluitend mouwloos shirt, met een grote gouden ketting en een donkere zonnebril, ook al was het al over achten 's avonds. Zijn metgezel, die niet ouder leek dan 22, kwam na hem binnen met drie vriendinnen. Ze probeerde hem in hun gesprek te betrekken, boog zich zo nu en dan zelfs naar hem toe om hem te kussen, maar een zwakke glimlach kon niet verhullen dat haar suikeroom zich ongemakkelijk voelde.

Uiteraard zijn zulke relaties niet nieuw en beperken ze zich ook niet tot Nigeria. Weinig mensen zijn nog geshockeerd als ze een rijke oudere man het zien aanleggen met jongere, armere vrouwen, met de belofte hun opleiding, reis- of shoppingbehoefte te financieren, in ruil voor wat gezelschap. Het is pas verrassend als zo'n relatie zich tot iets dieps en duurzaams ontwikkelt.

De relatie tussen Afrika en het Westen, vooral als het om de gezondheidszorg gaat, lijkt sterk op deze dynamiek van de suikeroom. Decennia lang zijn innovaties op het gebied van de gezondheidszorg klakkeloos overgenomen van de ontwikkelde landen, misschien met kleine variaties, op basis van de veronderstelling dat vader het het beste weet. Maar de resultaten zijn twijfelachtig, duur en vrijwel nooit van blijvende aard geweest.

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