Health is wealth. This is a popular maxim that has remained fallible for centuries. Sadly, not many Nigerians have access to this basic necessity of life.
Everyday, Nigerians die from illnesses that ordinarily can be treated. More so, there is the dearth of well-equipped medical centres, especially in rural areas, to cater for the needs of ordinary Nigerians.
Worried by this development, the American Initiative for Health and Wellness in Africa (AIHWA), partnered with a hospital operated by the Abuja Diocese of the Catholic Church, St Mary Catholic Hospital, Gwagwalada, for a medical outreach. The outreach, which ran from June 18 to 20, 2018, covered over 1,200 special health challenges. Over 300 surgeries were conducted and offered free of charge.
President of AIHWA, Rev. Fr. Kenny Udumka, told Daily Sun: “We are based in the United States, but we also have a field office in Abuja here. We are a different healthcare organisation, in the sense that we are integrated. For instance, my area of specialty is clinical health.
“I am interested in integrated healthcare system which is not common in Africa. What it means is that, we try to treat people with physical and psychological illness together soul. Our intention is to liberate the mind, body, and soul.
“I founded this organisation in the United States to enable me help Nigerians and other Africans, where they do not have access to quality healthcare like you have in the States or in other developed parts of the world.
“We cannot say this is the specific amount it has cost us. But God touched the hearts of many people who care to extend their resources to the people of Africa. That is how we get our funding.”
Medical director of the hospital, who doubles as Rev. Sr., Dr. Jane Ogechi, said the outreach was part of the mandate of the Catholic Church: “It is the beginning of a partnership, geared towards rendering healthcare services to people.
“We are not a profit organisation. This is part of what the Catholic Church is known for. This group has a similar mission like ours. We will have surgeries as much as possible. Different services will be rendered to the people. We are going to have about 300 surgeries here.”
Dr. Charles Nzurukike, who heads the country office of the group said: “I am the director of medical missions in Nigeria of the organisation. My role is to ensure that the exercise is properly organised. We cannot come here without the collaboration of the Federal Government. The government is aware that we are. We want to key into the Federal Government’s health initiative by going into rural areas to render healthcare services to the vulnerable in the society. We are targeting about 1,300 people at the end of the exercise.”