Our goal of improving the health of rural dwellers in Nigeria continues to be our focus in initiating this program. Our discoveries of high need for chronic disease management and the fact that the populations we serve are not poor financially but also lack the knowledge and other resources to manage their conditions. To manage chronic diseases, there is a need and proven fact that using the right medications and right approach helps to reduce or delay complications resulting from these conditions if not managed. The news we get everyday from the local volunteers is the number people coming for medications are increasing each time they announce the date for the maintenance program. Our sponsors of some of these villages cannot meet up with the influx of more people in need of help. I was also told that some of the people that come to collect medications are not there because they are free, but because the medications are real and works. A couple said they have had diabetes and hypertension for two years and nothing seems to work for them. But coming to the program this year and using the medications they collected made a huge difference in their lives and both there blood pressures and blood sugars are well controlled. A sponsor of one of the villages is suggesting we inform the participants that the medications are meant for that village alone and no people from the neighboring villages. The truth of the matter is that the message about the upcoming follow up is being relayed to those other villages by the people in this village, who are related to those in those neighboring villages. We cannot stop people form coming knowing that they do not have an alternative and their best choice is to continue with the fake drugs that is out there, or the ones that cannot afford even the fake drugs to go home and die. The fact that the number seeking help after each annual outreach increases, is a good sign. It means people are getting the information about chronic diseases and its management. The Resource Center still need more work to put it into full use. Follow up care and storing of supplies is what it is being used for at present. Our goal is to have the resource center open 3-4 times in a week for maintenance program and reinforcing education on chronic disease management. Want to use this opportunity to thank our friends out there, our donors for believing in us and in helping us make a difference in the health of these rural dwellers. We are looking for help for procurement of oral agents and insulin for the diabetics. We are short of medications to continue with the maintenance program
ACHI has completed this years medical outreach in three communities in IMO state. The outreach was successful. The medical doctors in all the state's and federal hospitals in all parts of Nigeria were on strick, and doors were closed to patients that needed medical services. As a result of this we had large turnout at all the communities, including people from the cities that needed medical care. The first community we went to was Avutu community in Obowo LGA, we were there for two days. The first day we attended to 414 adults out of the 1008 people that showed up that day.we noted a great increase in the number of adults living with hypertension and diabetes. This year we identified a eighteen year old girl with type 1 diabetes and has never been diagnosed and has had classical symptoms for almost two years. She had fasting blood sugar of 390 and was also spilling ketones in her urine. She has started having vision problem. She was educated on the disease process, prognosis , diet and blood glucose monitoring and insulin therapy. The mom is a widow and she was supplied with both long acting and short acting insulin, testing equipment and the strips.We also encountered a lot people with eye problems and close to being blind from cataract and glaucoma. This is an area that has urgent need. Some of these individuals can benefit from simple eye surgery or eye care. Out of the 644 people screened at Avutu, 280 people were hypertensive, and 40 people were diabetic. Included in this number are old cases we have been following, who have done very well in managing their blood glucose and blood pressure, with the year round maintenance program available to them at no cost.
The second community screened was Umugolo in Ehime Mbano LGA. We were there for two days and screened 508 people. Number of adults with hypertension were 240 and 16 diabetics. Many people were treated for GI problems, malaria and eye problem.The last community we screened was Amakohia in Ihitte/Uboma LGA. The turnout at this site was huge. The first day we screened 403 adults, and by the second day we screened total of 680 adults. Out of the adults screened, 307 were hypertensive and 75 diabetic. The eye doctors reported an overwhelming increase in number of adults with glaucoma and cataract and partial blindness. The screening at this site was made possible with donation from friends of Nigeria who donated money towards this outreach in continuation of their support of the resource center, that is still under construction. With this number of diabetics and hypertensives identified, we continue to see the urgent need for a center where all these individual can go for teaching and obtain necessary supplies needed to self-manage their conditions
ACHI will like to use this opportunity to thank all our donors for their generosity these past years. Your support has helped so many in need of simple health care in the rural areas of Nigeria. You have helped us to save many lives, prevented or slowed the onset of complications on individuals with diabetes and hypertension. Our goal is to is to eradicate the poverty of knowledge among the rural dwellers, whose knowledge of chronic disease process and management is very limited or not there to begin with. Our message is spreading and we are able to educate as many as our budget can get to at every location. We are embarking on another outreach this year and we are hoping to get more funding and donation from concerned individuals. We cannot do this with your backing and we are thankful for your words of encouragement, financial support and prayers. Our outreach starts in the month of July to August. Our goal is to reach more people this year, and to have more successful stories for our donors.
ACHI's goal of bringing health care and health education closer to the individauls living in poverty in the rural areas of Imo State Nigeria where there is no or lack of access to health care continues. We just concluded our 9th annual health screening in these communities. The stories and discoveries continue to be the same. Each year comes with new addition of newly identified individuals with diabetes and hypertension, who are not properly managed or are unaware of what is going on in their bodies.
This year's mission added more assessment tools to its procedures. With the help of Allina Health System in MN, who donated an Ambulance to the organization, we were able to conduct physical assessments in the areas that we did not have any form of privacy. The oncologist from MN who went us this year identified two women with breast cancer and they were referred appropriately. ACHI saw the need for a referral center for follow-up, collection center for dressing supplies, and diabetic supplies, and we started working on securing a site for this to happen. We secured an old building in one of the villages and started renovating it to be used for these purposes. With the help of Peace Corp Volunteers that were in Nigeria in th 1960's (Friends Of Nigeria-FON), and your donations, and donations from members of Christ Episcopal Church in Woodbury MN, we have been able to reroof the building, put doors and windows. During this concluded mission, we were able to use the rooms for physical exams, consultation and treatment.
There are still work to be done at the site. We need running water, restrooms for staff and patients, security, and furnishing of the laboratory space, tables and chairs for consultation. We are grateful for your genarosity and kindness towards this organization since we strated. We will continue to serve people in need and making more effort to eradicate the poverty of knowledge which is one of the major problems facing the population we serve.
From Dec. 26 to Dec. 30th, we had our annual adventure of bringing basic health information and needs to the rural areas of Nigeria has not only revealed the prevalence of the Silent Killer diseases, but also the population affected most and their educational levels. We were in Ogoniland,in Niger Delta part of Nigeria for this screening.
Most of those screened could read and write basic English language, had basic education which in the 1970s to early 1980s was enough to get them jobs. These individuals were in their 30s, 40s and 50s. There were a relatively small number of elderly individuals (median life expectancy in Nigeria is 47 for female and 46 for male).
They had basic education but still had little or no knowledge of what chronic diseases are, prognosis and self management of same. They are poor and few of them had any jobs, some of them have families and aging parents who are also dependent on them for their healthcare needs and so on. Why won't they be stressed, depressed, hypertensive, diabetic when they cannot live up to the expectations of their parents who sold their land to put them through school.
The silent killer is affecting this group of individuals in great numbers. It is an Earthquake, disaster in its own form. These problems cannot be solved by numerous annual medical missions that have no plans for continuity of care, after these individuals are identified. The conditions are chronic, also is the poverty amongst these group of people
For us to make a difference in the lives of these individuals, we need a program that will work on sustaining them after they are identified.
ACHI had the privilege of conducting health screening in Khana/Gokana local government areas, in Rivers State, Nigeria, last month. The numbers were staggering. Out of the 1046 adults screened, 50% of those were Hypertensive, and 13% Diabetic, 75% had malaria. We also saw lots of STDs amongst the young girls, and 200 kids were dewormed during the program.
The stories from these people are not different from their counterparts in other states or local governments. The doctors were overwhelmed with number of people with high blood pressures and impending strokes. Dr. Obinna Nwaneri in his own words said "I have never seen blood pressures this high in my life".
Dr Nwaneri and other health professionals took time off from their families (during this Christmas Holiday season) to volunteer during the outreach program, which was sponsored by Hon. Maurice Pronen, who is a member of the Nigerian National House of Assembly. Hon Pronen heard about ACHI's program and wanted his people to benefit from it.
Hon. Maurice Pronen has agreed to continue with the weekly maintenance program, which includes blood glucose monitoring for the diabetics, blood pressures for the hypertensive, reinforcing education, and weekly medication supply and management by a registered nurse in the community.
We will continue to encourage individuals, organizations, and groups, to go back to where they come from, communities around them, and the rest of the world to make a difference. The world needs help, but third world countries need more help
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