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 before our next outreach in October.
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
The need for a center for coordination of care for the villagers with chronic diseases continues to be our dream. We are doing our best with the limited support we are receiving from individuals and groups. This past year with the help of a US base organization called friends of Nigeria and Christ church Episcopal in Woodbury, we were able to complete the ceiling project, mount the doors and windows with window protectors to safe guide the equipments we have. More work still needs to be done for it to be put to use. We need electricity, water supply and toilet facility. We also need to have some of the rooms plastered with cement so we could paint them. The building is still being managed to run our maintenance program and annual outreach activities. We are praying and hoping for more funding this year so we can do more work. This building when completed will serve as a resource center for disease management, outlet for medical equipments and supplies for the needy, follow up center for investigations.
ACHI's decision to have a centrally located place to house our medical supplies, used as a follow up site for health education and reinforcement on chronic disease management is still in progress. We made the decision based on the results of our annual outreaches for the past nine years. The inability of the individuals in the rural areas of Nigeria to manage their conditions is complicated by financial poverty and POVERTY OF KNOWLEDGE. These individuals have no knowledge of chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension; therefor have no knowledge of the disease process and management. We have been able to put doors and windows at the center, which has enabled us to put the left over supplies from our last mission away at this place. The site is currently used for follow up cares. More work still needs to be done. The already completed work was made possible by Friends Of Nigeria; Peace corps volunteers that were in Nigeria in the 1960s. We still need source of water supply, electricity and a toilet facility. The building is not yet done and with your help it will be completed and used for the purpose it is meant for. Attached are pictures of the building from our last concluded mission in August.
ACHI is moving on to the next phase in constructing a Resource Center at Amakohia in Ihitte/Uboma LGA of Imo state. The choice of this place as the site is due to the availability of existing buildings that have been abandoned for several years; the location of the building and accessibility of the site to our numerous patients. The idea of a resource center came after the discovery, through health screening of individuals living with diabetes, and hypertension without the knowledge of the condition, and prognosis of these conditions. We decided to have a place that will be centrally located, with access road. We have six rooms that will be used for teaching, supplies, laboratory, and for groups. There is a need for reinforcement of what is being taught during the annual outreaches by a trained health educator and health professional. Through our friends, coworkers and a group of peace corps volunteers of America that were in Nigeria in the Sixties ( Friends of Nigeria}, we have complete the roofing, the ceiling, the doors and windows. There is still more to be done to put the center into use. We still need equipment for the lab, tables, toilet facility and water supply. The electrical work still needs to be done. We are starting this year’s medical outreach on July 27th 2013 through August 17th 2013. We are grateful for all your support in making sure that ACHI reaches its goal of having this center completed. Your support is important to us.
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