MEZU INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION JULY 2014 MEDICAL MISSION TRIP TO IMO STATE, NIGERIA
The July 2014 medical mission trip to Emekuku, Owerri, Nigeria by Mezu International Foundation (MIF), was successfully completed. It was a memorable experience for both MIF volunteers and our patients. MIF exceeded our goal of 2,000 patients that came to receive care. The medical mission took place over five days from Thursday July 24th through Tuesday, July 29th, 2014. Patients arrived as early as 4am each day to be seen, and our over 50 dedicated medical and non-medical worked tirelessly till nightfall seeing 500-700 patients daily, past 7pm each day.
Overview of the Medical Mission:
- Demographics: Of the over 2,000 patients that attended, 55% were women, 30% were men and 15% were children (under 18 years). More than 60% of the patients travelled on foot to the medical mission site, and another 20% arrived either by public transportation or on bicycles. Attendees came from neighboring villages (about 5 miles), faraway towns (up to 20 miles away–Owerri, Mbaise, Orlu), and other states (up to 200 miles away–Abia State, Enugu State, Rivers State, Ibadan, Oyo state) in order to receive the medical care provided.
- Patients were triaged and a detailed case history and point of care testing, including rapid screening testing for malaria parasite and HIV testing was performed.
- Comprehensive eye exams were done, including screenings for cataracts and glaucoma and eye glass prescriptions were dispensed on site.
- All patients were attended to by a physician and further diagnostic testing was performed, including electrocardiography with a portable hand-held EKG.
- All patients received their prescribed medications and were counseled on proper drug use by a licensed pharmacist. Every patient received multivitamins, toothbrushes, and calcium tablets.
- All patients were given instructions to receive follow-up care at a local primary care doctor or facility for further testing for their condition.
- Health education and counselling was given to all patients and a brochure or educational pamphlet on several health conditions distributed, including pneumonia, malaria, hypertension, diabetes, prostrate issues, malnutrition, dehydration.
- The MIF organization humanitarian women group, “Our Lady’s Food Kitchen”, which provides foods to widows and families in need whole-heartedly cooked for and served a daily nutritious meal of “jollof rice and beef “ and yam and stew to the thousands that came for the medical mission, as they waited patiently for medical attention. A large ram was used to feed the people that attended the mission.
Some of the Medical Conditions Seen:
- Undiagnosed severe hypertension
- Undiagnosed Congenital Heart Disease
- Undiagnosed Cardiac disease and arrythmias
- High prevalence of Malaria and Typhoid
- Increased blindness (from age 50) from early-onset cataracts.
- High incidence of glaucoma in the working population.
- Uncontrolled Diabetes
- High incidence of anemia in the population
- Malnutrition and dehydration in the pediatric population
- High incidence of bronchitis, pneumonias, and respiratory illnesses
- Goiter, hyperthyroidism, and Polio
- Undiagnosed tumors and masses
- Early onset of chronic athritis (from age 15)
- Undiagnosed Genetic Conditions: Neurofibromatosis, Tuberous Sclerosis, Spinal Muscle Atrophy
Barriers to Care: In the Population served, MIF identified some barriers to care, including:
- Lack of finances, due to a high rate of unemployment, even amongst college graduates.
- The high cost of health care with 40% of the population living on less than $1 a day; however, an average doctor’s visit for consultation without medical tests costs $200 (Naira 32,000), and a one month supply of an anti-hypertensive medication costs about $50 (Naira 8,000). With a cash based economy, unregulated use of drugs without prescriptions, and no existence of health insurance plans, people self-medicate or languish at home for lack of money for health care. Hospital admission and tests are prepaid prior to provision of services and thus many patients are denied irrespective of the emergency or life-threatening condition they present with.
- Patients generally had a poor understanding or knowledge of their medical condition, but were very willingly to learn about their health and comply with directives given.
Medical Mission Outcome Measures: Our Impact Made!
- 200 children treated for dehydration and malnutrition
- 300 patients tested for HIV
- 800 patients dewormed
- 500 patients treated for typhoid
- 800 patients treated for malaria
- 1000 screened for anemia
- 1400 free eye exams done
- 500 prescription glasses dispensed
- 600 toothbrushes given free
- 1100 patients given multivitamins
- 1500 patients screened for hypertension and diabetes
- 2000 people educated on the value of preventive medical care and several health conditions
2015 MIF Medical Mission Vision/Goals:
- Establish a Community Medical Center : MIF has designated the building to be used to establish a Community Medical Center for provision of subsidized preventive health care to the indigenes in between medical missions. MIF has also acquired land as a permanent site to build a state of the art hospital to provide subsidized care for the community.
- Global Partnerships: MIF is seeking to partner with international and local non-profit organizations and government agencies to continue to provide much needed medical care and services in the rural communities in Imo State and surrounding areas. MIF will be partnering with other non-profit groups and specialists (surgeons) to perform needed surgeries and ophthalmologists to perform cataract surgeries at subsidized rates at the medical center.
- Health Education : MIF is committed to continued health care education to the indigenes on cultural and socio-economic risk factors affecting health in the rural community. MIF seeks to continue its training of local health care professionals on current trends of medical care and practices.
- Clean Water Saves Lives Project: MIF is planning to sink a large bore hole project in the community for safe, clean drinking water. One borehole cost about 3,000 dollars but can provide clean, drinking water for up to 10,000 people in a community.
- Immunization to Reduce Child Mortality Project: Routine immunization for kids to eradicate communicable diseases and reduce infant and child mortality.
- Scheduled Deworming Project: Two tablets of worm medication every 6 months ($2 per child) prevents chronic parasitic infection causing malnutrition, anemia, severe gastrointestinal illness, cognitive deficits, and poor school performance.
- Free mosquito Nets to Prevent Malaria: A brand new sturdy mosquito net per household bed or window will prevent malaria and the cost of this illness in lives, wages and economic impact to the community. ($5 per household).
- Job Creation: MIF is committed to job creation to reduce high levels of unemployment for graduates and non-graduates: through livestock and crop farming empowerment and establishing a Computer Learning /Training Center for skills acquisition in computer software programs, database management etc. that will create more job opportunities for youth.
A word to our dedicated MIF Sponsors, Partners and Volunteers:
Mezu International Foundation (MIF) is extremely grateful to the selfless dedication and immense support of all its partners and volunteers who gave generously of medications, medical supplies,financial donations, and their time and efforts to the success of our July 2014 medical mission trip to Imo State, Nigeria. We are looking forward to our next medical mission being held in July 2015 which will be a dedicated MIF Community Outreach and Preventive Medicine Education week. The goal by December 2015 is to transition to a community medical center to serve the community in between medical missions. The MIF Community Center will provide affordable preventive medical care and diagnostic testing, health counselling for the indigenes, and educational/diagnostic skills training for the local health care professionals. Partners, sponsors and volunteers are welcome to participate in this humanitarian global health effort.
|Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB)
University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, Madison
UW Global Health Institute, Madison, WI
Cornerstone Alliance Navigators
Aqua Vision Care, Pikesville, MD
Vision Service Plan (VSP)
|EFMC, Hebron Dutse, Abuja, Nigeria
Our Lady Queen of Peace School, Madison
University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy Students
Continental Optical Imports
Federal University of Technology, School of Optometry, Imo State