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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Nnobi Diaspora Group Screens 1562 Indigenes In New Rural Health Care Delivery


The people of Nnobi in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State got medical attention last December when 1562 indigenes of the town received free health screening, treatment and referral to health centers or the general hospital for follow up. 

The screening came courtesy of Nnobi people in North America. Nnobi US Diaspora Health Group coordinated the screening with a generous support of the Nnobi umbrella organization, Nnobi Union North America (NUNA).

At the screening, out of the1562 people screened, 515 were treated for Malaria, 536 for Hypertension and 75 for diabetes. Another 442 patients received multi-vitamins as nutritional supplements and 516 people received ibuprofen for arthritis and other aches and pains. The 2017 screening was a 53.6% increase from the number of people reached in 2016 when over 1000 people were screened and 607 were treated on the spot. 280 were treated for malaria, 290 for high blood pressure and 37 for diabetes.

Unlike other medical missions carried out by Nigerians in the diaspora, this effort is grassroots driven. It taps into the existing medical structure in the town, working with doctors at Nnobi General Hospital, training matrons at Nnobi Health Care Centers and 36 community healthcare workers to deliver care and follow up with patients even after the screening. It also has the community as partners who buy into the program and assume ownership.

According to the leader of the Nnobi US Diaspora Health Group, Prof. Ferdinand Ofodile, that buy-in by the community is what differentiates it from other medical missions. “They own it and as such are interested in seeing it work.”

For the health mission, Nnobi indigenes in the diaspora donated laptops, medications and medical kits. Others donated money to help facilitate the effort. New mattresses, bed sheets, water tanks, and other amenities were donated to the town’s health centers. The activities of the diaspora health group also spurred the government of Anambra State to recommit to the healthcare need of the town. Currently, massive infrastructural upgrades are taking place at the general hospital. 

The state government is also enlarging the staff capacity of the hospital to include various specialists like optometrists, physiotherapists, and dental technicians.

The success of the community health care initiative will be the subject of a lecture that Professor Ofodile will deliver at Columbia University in New York City on February 20, 2018. It is part of the EPIC (Emeritus Professors in Columbia) Tuesday Lecture Series.  Prof. Ofodile, who is a Clinical Professor Emeritus of Surgery, will share his experience of the Nnobi Diaspora Health Initiative in a lecture titled, “Rethinking Rural Health Care Delivery: A Nigerian Diaspora-Town Union Partnership.”

“With the recent dust-up about Africa and Immigration,” Prof. Ofodile said, “our membership and our charitable activities are testimony that anyone that thinks we should not be here is totally wrong.”

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