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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