A social experiment: An open letter to Americans

Project Lancashire: An Iforg Project

{ www.openlta.org | www.openlta.com }

Today's Date:

Getting ready for book launch...

7th September 2020

I have slapped on a new lick of paint on this website in anticipation of the book launch later this year. I am working hard and frantically on this. You can click here to see the countdown timer. Otherwise just come here ocassionally to say hi.

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My Dear American Friends,

1st October 2013

Must we shut down the whole government infrastructure over an issue which can only be resolved with honest dialogue? I don’t know much about anything but this is an issue I know a little bit about. I have walked the journey with you from across the pond and will like to make a contribution or two to an issue which stirs your passion and mine.

For those who missed it, this link will explain why once again, I find myself here. I promised, after all, to ‘keep track of the progress of your healthcare bill’.

How did we get here?

We got here through a long, winding road. Something akin to your Pacific Coast Highway in California. It is an exciting journey filled with so many surprises, intrigues and at times danger. It was our honeymoon trip many years ago which started in the city of Angels and ended in San Francisco. We stopped over in Monterey, spent 3 nights in San Francisco and headed for the Yosemite National Park. That was a journey that made a lasting imprint in my mind.

This is not, however, a travelogue! We are here today because the GOP failed to engage productively with the Obamacare bill. That is in the past now and you punished the GOP for placing pollical calculation over the interest of your fellow citizens. I guess the GOP now wished, deep down, that it had showed up at critical moments. It didn't and the die was cast. I happen to think that when the GOP does decide to truly show up, it can actually improve the bill but not in this way!

My personal view is that the Obamacare bill must pass as it is and over time, it will evolve - with the help of a GOP, that is fully engaged with a process of improving the bill in a very bipartisan way. That will start a healing process which will cleanse your legislative houses of these deep divisions which is threatening to tear the house down! Remember, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

No political party has a monopoly on truth and all must embrace changes that will work for your fellow citizens.

My advise is that all parties quit this 'game' of brinkmanship and show leadership. Pass the funding bill as is, and get everyone back to work. Evolution of the bill will come later. There is San Francisco ahead and we all know how dramatic and exhilarating the landscape is there. The landscape took my breadth away. After that, it is Yosemite - with the tranquillity of the high altitude and the mesmerizing granite cliffs, waterfalls, Giant Sequoia groves and biological diversity. Our time there was so memorable that I felt heaven was near. It was tranquility personified - and that is the future ahead, if we do the right things.

The Doctrine of Universal Truths
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A Social Experiment: An Open Letter to Americans (Final Installment)

25th December 2009

Hello again Americans,

She walked in. I was so glad to see her and I expressed this by sharing a smile. She returned the smile. 'I just thought I will let you know' she started. 'You know I said I was going on holiday to Spain' she continued. I nodded vaguely, clearly my memory has failed me again. 'Anyway' she said noting that I was struggling to remember our previous conversation. 'On the day my husband and I arrived there, I felt ill. I knew something was wrong. I couldn't move my hands. I felt I had had a stroke.' she continued. 'We went to see a doctor in Spain and after examination, he said I had just slept awkwardly. I didn't buy it and I immediately wanted to come back home to my doctor' She paused to catch her breathe and I took her aside. Clearly I wanted to hear where this story was leading and as we moved to the side I noticed a fresh looking scar around her neck. I said nothing. 'The airline was kind and we managed to get the next flight back to England. I felt bad for my husband as this was our only holiday for a long time. Immediately we got back to England, I saw my GP and was fast tracked to the hospital and before I knew what was happening, I was undergoing surgery to repair the artery here' She said pointing to the scar around her neck. 'I was discharged a couple of weeks ago.' she finished. 'So how are you feeling now?' I asked. 'Great' she replied. 'I just thought I'll let you know'.

Let us leave aside why she was 'letting me know', the story above is true. She just had an urgent Carotid artery repair. Carotid artery is the main artery that supply blood to the head and neck region. Any blockage or damage to this artery can be fatal! Yes fatal or lead to irreversible brain damage. She was smart and she made the right decisions. This of course, is not a story about the relative merits of the Spanish and English healthcare systems. With all the wills in the world there will be incidents of wrong diagnosis in every healthcare system. This is however the story about the trust she had in her NHS. And in this particular case, she wasn't disappointed.

More...

Read the rest of the final installment of my letter


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An Open Letter to Americans

16th August 2009

I am just a chemist from Southampton, a town in the United Kingdom, you know, the kind you will meet in your local drug store. So, in the scheme of things, I am relatively unimportant with no political affiliations. All I care about is the welfare of my patients. I wouldn't even have dreamt of writing this letter if my NHS has not been dragged into the important debate you are having across the ocean. I want to speak to you from the heart. Call it a social experiment. I want to explain why I am passionate about my NHS and why you have an important decision to make about your healthcare system. This is a social experiment because I will not spend a penny to publicize this letter but I want it to reach as many lives in America as is feasible using the social media that is Twitter and Facebook. I want people to read this letter and make their minds up about this important healthcare decision you are about to make. This is an opportunity for the marketers and publicists that litter these social media sites to prove their worth. You have my word: I will place no ads on this site, just links to the site's statistics.

I would consider myself a great friend of the United States. You have a great nation that you should be very proud of. You gave meaning to the word 'Liberty'. I knew yours is a great nation but I didn't understand how great until I listened to the book '1776' by David McCullough last year. If you haven't read it, I personally recommend that you do. It was Abraham Lincoln who said: "A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have". Our common enemy is inequality of health and I will explain why you should take this decision you are about to make very seriously.

My NHS is not perfect, but I have experienced a great deal of determined change in the way it is now configured over the last 10 years. Through a combination of strong leadership and determination, I feel the service is moving in the right direction. This is the service I am proud to call my NHS. The only reason why we are all rallying behind the NHS is because of the basic NHS ethos: the concept that healthcare will be available to every citizen that needs it.

America has been involved in a great many battles: The American Revolution led by General Washington between 1775 to 1782 when you Americans faced off the largest empire in the world, and won. David McCullough described the events better than I could. Then there was the war of 1812 aptly named the Second War of Independence after which your independence was assured. Then you had the Civil War, the deadliest in your history and you came out of it with utmost dignity. In the end you had the Emancipation proclamation. 'A great majority of the 4 million slaves were freed by the Emancipation proclamation' (Wikipedia). You introduced the world to the concept of 'The American Dream' - Anything is possible. You even demonstrated this by electing your first black president. You have given much to the world. It is time for you to give something special to yourselves: The gift of health. Abraham Lincoln said "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."

More...

Read the original letter in full


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iforg project

An Open Letter to Americans


About Project

Written ~ January 2010

Kazeem OlalekanI am glad you are able to join me here. My name is Kazeem Olalekan and I work as a Pharmacist mainly in the City of Southampton in the southcoat of England. I am also the CEO of a small company: Iforg Limited (www.iforg.com). Iforg (for: Information Organisation) was formed in 2002 as a vehicle for me to pursue a career in IT which I can then exploit in my pharmacy career. I understood how valuable information technology could be in healthcare (hence the tagline: Technology and Healthcare)

The priorities of Iforg Limited have since evolved as a result of a number of personal experiences which I will explore in more details at a later time. Iforg's mission is simple: (1) To do good and to (2) Develop solutions of the highest quality through focused projects. If a project fits one (or many) of our project objectives listed here then we will pursue it as a project. We give our projects the names of the different counties in the UK. The idea is that a proportion of the revenue from such project will be used to support a healthcare charity in that county. We are currently working on a number of projects at the present moment.

My first open letter to Americans was a product of passion for my NHS in the face of irrational attack from a faction of the conservative right in the USA and the concerns I had for plights of the vast number of American who are uninsured. I was insensed enough to write that letter. The support it got was unprecedented; for me anyway.

I owe the immediate success of the letter to Mr Ian Aspin (@IanAspin). I will explain why: I only joined Twitter on the 1st of July 2009 after a lot of uncertainity on my part about the technology. There was this hype in the media about this technology but my greatest barrier was how unweildy it looked and the new languages you needed to communicate in 'twittersphere'. My guess was if the very intelligent Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) can be a fan, then it can't be too bad. My first account was Kazeem Olalekan (@Iforg) where I planned to explore the technology by tweeting about technology and healthcare and some personal stuff. My first tweet was about a blog I was planning and I just posed the question: "Why is understanding death good for your health?"

In August when a section of the right wing in the USA decided to start the fallacies about our healthcare service, a number of Brits rebuffed it. The 'I love the NHS' twibbon was created and the #welovetheNHS hash tag was coined. It was successful but by week two, like most things, the popularity was starting to waine. It was on the back of keeping the momentum of support going and my increasing 'rage' that I wrote the letter. Ian was the first to re-tweet it. After reading it, he even wrote a new copy for the post. The new copy will prove to be very significant later (especially with regards to my other projects). It worked and within a day, the support was phenomenal. My inbox was filling up fast with notification of twitter followers. So I owe the immediate success of the letter to Ian. That is why this project is codenamed: Lancashire where Ian is from.

What happens next?:

The journey from when I wrote my first letter to now has been emotional. I shared a lot of your (the Americans') emotions and anguish about healthcare reform from the heady days of August. I tried a lot of strategies to get the information to as many Americans as possible. Some worked some didn't. I have gained a lot of insight into the technology and I will share my taughts in a book. The book I am planning will have the following remit:

  1. Explore my motivation for writing the letter
  2. Describe my emotional journey for the 6 months
  3. Explore strategies for maximising Twitter benefits. Explore what works and what doesn't. I will drill down into the statistics.
  4. I will introduce some tools I found very useful and some important insight into your marketing strategy - This is a strategy for the person with minimum resources but desires maximum coverage using the social media space.
  5. I will describe in more details the merits and difficulties of social media.
  6. I will offer my verdict on the social media of Twitter and Facebook.

Proportion of revenue from the book will go to a healthcare charity in Lancashire. I now need to find a publisher. Any takers out there?

Another important decision I have to make is what happens to the openlta infrastructure (www.openlta.org | www.openlta.com | twitter.com/openlta). I have some ideas of my own at the moment but suggestions are welcomed in a postcard or just email: openlta@iforg.com.

I hope I have been able to demonstrate, so far, a glimse at what Iforg is all about.

Thanks to all that have supported this project so far.

Kazeem Olalekan
Iforg Limited