OGWASHI-UKU ASSOCIATION USA INC.
PO BOX 836, RIVERDALE MARYLAND 20737
2012 OGWASHI-UKU ASSOCIATION MEDICAL MISSION REPORT
Happy New Year, and I wish all Governing Council members, and the entire membership of Ogwashi-uku Association a magical 2013 that is filled with good health, prosperity and Gods blessings. It is with great pride in Ogwashi-uku Association USA Inc. that I give this report for the 2012 Medical Mission to Ogwashi-uku.
After the election of this administration on July, 2011, the Ogwashi-uku Association Executive members had a spirited dialogue about what our course of action will be regarding a National Project. Many options were discussed including building of the Town Hall, Ogwashi-uku beautification, Street Signs and scholarships. I had the Medical Mission idea in late 2011, but was not sure how this type of project could be carried out. A couple of months later I met and spoke to a potential Medical Mission coordinator, but while speaking with Mr. Joe Ijeh about my idea, he stated that he has a family friend that leads Medical Missions to Africa, he was kind enough to make the connection between I and Mrs. Ify Nwabukwu the Founder and President of African Women Cancer Awareness Association (AWCAA). Mrs. Nwabukwu and I discussed the mission and later met in Maryland in early January, 2012. On January 14th, 2012, I formally proposed
the 2012 Medical Mission to Ogwashi-uku Association executive members as a National Project. My idea for the Medical Mission was influenced by my experiences during my yearly visits to Ogwashi-uku and seeing so many of our people with different illnesses, but with no resources to go to the hospital for diagnosis or treatment. I felt that the Association may be able to collectively enhance the lives of many Ogwashi-uku people by the Medical Mission. The National Executive members discussed and agreed with me that the Medical Mission to Ogwashi-uku is a good choice for a National Project.
The Medical Mission project was then presented to the Governing Council for deliberations and approval of funding of the project. After a series of National Executives and National Governing Council meetings, details and logistics of the Mission discussions, the Governing Council eventually approved funding for the Mission. The journey for the 2012 Ogwashi-uku Medical Mission then began in earnest. The executive members worked with Dr. Mrs. Mabel Enwemnwa and Mr. Peter Udegbue to make necessary arrangements for the upcoming Mission.
On December 9th, 2012, while waiting for my flight to Nigeria at Houston International Airport I received a call from the Medical Mission Coordinator Mrs. Ify Nwabukwu advising that Obi of Ogwashi-ukus wife has been kidnapped from Ogwashi-uku; I immediately contacted Dr. Njideka Udochi, Obis daughter who was also scheduled to go to the medical mission, she confirmed this disturbing news, the issue of cancelling the Medical Mission came up, but I stood firm in my belief that Ogwashi-uku Association needed to forge ahead with this Mission. It is important to note that due to the kidnapping, some of the Medical Mission doctors decided that it was too risky and unsafe to travel to Nigeria and to Ogwashi-uku in particular. Upon arrival in Lagos, I arranged for Hotel accommodations for the incoming Medical Mission members, some of whom were arriving on 12/14/2012 and others 12/16/2012; they were housed at Starfire Hotel in Ikeja.
(See Medical Mission Financial Report). Mr. Sunday Uwaechue -Ashi had to pay N55, 000.00 for the medical missionmembers meals at the Starfire hotel as I had already left Lagos for Ogwashi by the time they arrived in Lagos. Money wasreimbursed; receipt by money transfer receipt is attached to Mission financial report.
In Ogwashi-uku, thanks to Dr. Mabel Enwenwa and Mr. Peter Udegbue who were on the ground prior to my arrival, arrangements for the Mission was in advance stages. Myself, and Mr. Elias Uwandi who went to Nigeria on his own met with Mr. Udegbue and Dr. Enwemnwa to work out the remaining logistics. Upon visiting Aninshi Primary School, I quickly realized that we will not be able to use this venue for the medical mission due to its deplorable condition. The Ogwashi-uku Town Hall was used for the Medical Mission instead. On 12/15/2012, the Ogwashi-uku Polytechnic Coaster bus (Donated by the Polytechnic Rector Mrs. Mogekwu) left Ogwashi-uku to Lagos to pick up the Medical Mission members. The Medical Mission members were housed at Acomek, Anderson Mekomas hotel upon arrival at Ogwashi-uku on 12/16/2012. N500, 000.00 (Five Hundred thousand Naira was paid to Anderson Mekoma on this date plus the deposit of N100,000.00 which was paid to him by Peter Udegbue prior to my arrival. Almost immediately there were complains about the hotel rooms ranging from the pillows, beddings, to the fact that there was no hot water, no showers in the rooms, curling irons were used to heat water in plastic buckets; this however resulted in some of our American guests who were not used to this method of water heating burning the plastic buckets which in turn resulted in water spills into the rooms. There were also reports that the rooms were filthy as well as concerns about unsavory characters loitering around hotel premises.
Security details were put together thanks to Angela Nwaka who secured four Mopol officers from Asaba and Peter Udegbue who arranged for four Ogwashi-uku Police officers and two Vigilantes. On the first day of the Mission, after paying for the hotel rooms; I quickly realized that the Mission was not well funded as we had to practically rent everything from daily generator rentals, Canopy, Chairs, Car, Truck, printing of more copies for registration forms, daily Medical Satchels, daily gasoline and diesel for the generator for the mission and a host of other things that we could not have imagined. By the second day of the program, the mission had totally run out of funds. When the Financial secretary Mary Okafor called, funding issues was communicated to her, I advised her to contact the National secretary to call an emergency meeting for
approval of more funding for the Mission.
1. Day one of the Mission:
12/17/2012: All Medical Mission members met with the Obi in Council for a welcome meeting, members of Obi in Council welcomed and thanked all Medical Mission members for coming and for all they were about to do. The turnout of Ogwashi-uku people was huge on this first day, it was at first chaotic as most first events always are. As stated above, the kidnapping of Obis wife, and the eventual drop off of about five doctors created a shortage of doctors and nurses for the Mission. The Medical Mission Coordinator Mrs. Ify Nwabukwu then hired four doctors from Asaba Hospital, one from Ogwashi-uku General Hospital and a dental surgeon from Jos for the Mission. This situation created a budgetary issue, but I knew that the Mission must go on and not fail.
TheTown Hall was set up in different sections to accommodate patients registration station, vital signs and blood pressure station, diabetic tests stations, medical examination by the doctors (diagnosis if any issues), after which they were referred to the pharmacy for medications or referred to hospital. All women who came to the Mission were referred for Breast examinations if they wish to take advantage of this service and many of them did. Patients who needed dental work were also referred to the dental section for oral care; lots of dental work was done on this mission, the dental surgeon and his staff worked tirelessly to see most of the patients who came for oral and dental care. The Medical Mission did a lot of work on this date and every day thereafter, it was overwhelming, some patients were referred to the General Hospital due to more acute illnesses, and some patients diagnosed with breast cancer were also referred to Asaba for a more intense treatment. Mr. Patrick Uwaje was one of these patients, he had prostate issues and since his case was more acute, he was referred to the General hospital where another physician confirmed the diagnosis
of prostate cancer, he was referred to Asaba for treatment as they were not able to help him at the hospital; he was later transported to Asaba by the general hospital. Due to these patients lack of resources, the Association had to fund some of the treatments for these patients (see financial report). Due to the need to move medical equipments, transport patients to Ogwashi-uku General Hospital, and also to Asaba hospital; I enlisted the help of Gabriel Ohai for transportation, the Association used two of his cars, and his truck for the five days of the program. (See Mission financial report). Later on this first day, Mr. Peter Udegbue and his team of field workers perfected the system by announcing that it will be easier to treat village by village from day two of the Mission. Mission members worked diligently into the night to accommodate a lot of people, the ones that were not seen on this date were advised to return on the date designated for their various villages.
2. Day two of the Medical Mission
12/18/2012: Mrs. Nwabukwu advised that the Medical Mission members are no longer willing to continue to stay at Acomek due to power failures, lack of hot water, shower and overall safety concerns of the hotel. My efforts to convince the Medical Mission members to stay was not successful, I then contacted Hon. Angela Nwaka, explain the situation and asked her to find a reasonable hotel in Asaba for the Team. Hon. Nwaka found Hotel Benezia at the rate of N16, 000.00, but was able to negotiate down to N10, 000.00
per night. Day two of the Mission was much more organized, more doctors had also been recruited into the
program and as such the lines moved at a much faster pace, the field workers decision to see patients Village by Village made a lot of difference. On this date we were visited by Mrs. Ann Chalokwu Orumade, she brought some lunch for the Mission members; she also cooked dinner for them the next day. After work at the Town hall, Mission members moved to Hotel Benezia in Asaba, Mrs. Nwabukwu was advised that the Association will not be able to room Mission Members individually, and needed them to double up, most of them did, while some refused, and wanted to occupy their individual rooms. Mrs. Nwabukwu took a suite at N20, 000 per room as the rooms at Benezia were smaller and she needed the room for the medications for the mission which was kept in her room. Due to the relocation, the Association lost N1000, 000.00 at Akomek as mission members still had their belongings in the rooms until 5:30pm at the hotel. The relocation to Benezia also cost the Association an extra N70,000.00 daily for four days. This was the most stressful day of the mission for me. I, Peter Udegbue, and Gabriel Ohai did not leave Hotel Benezia in Asaba until 11:30pm on this date.
3. Day Three of the mission
12/19/2012 : was more of a routine but with the same hectic challenges in keeping with this type of mission, the Medical Mission Team members worked diligently to accommodate all who came for treatment.
4. Day four of the Medical Mission
12/20/2012: The Medical Mission members worked harder every day to meet the demands for treatment daily. Patient Kevin Utomi passed out at the mission location, he is diabetic, he was transported to General Hospital, his treatment was paid by the Association, he was also given money for medications, he came back
to the Town hall the next to show me his medications as I asked him to do. Mrs. Blessing Adinge of Azungwu was transported to Asaba hospital due to Breast Cancer diagnosis, due to the inability to pay for treatment, the Association also had to pay for her treatment and transportation for the nurse who went with her to return to Ogwashi. We are trying to maintain communications with these individuals and follow up with their progress.
5. Day five of the mission
12/21/2012: The last day of the mission was equally daunting, after the Mission completion, I was unable to pay some of our vendors such as the caterer some doctors, Associations photographer, nurses, car service and field workers as we had ran out of funds. On this last day, all Medical Mission members went to Obis Palace for appreciation dinner. In appreciation for the incredible work that the Medication Mission members did for Ogwashi-uku people, they were presented with a gifts of Ankara as an appreciation to remember Ogwashi-uku people whenever they wear their Ankara.
At the conclusion of this Mission; I feel that Ogwashi-uku people were well served, and had benefited from the Medical Mission. I observed our people express their gratitude to Ogwashi-uku Association USA members for caring enough to bring this Medical Mission to Ogwashi-uku, and they wish that we can continue to bring the program to Ogwashi in the future. In hindsight, there were things we could have done differently, when we embarked on this project, being the first time, we underestimated how much money it will cost to fund this type of project. For stated reasons, much of what we needed was not budgeted for; we also underestimate the local political dynamics in Ogwashi, where there were lots of competing interests;(for instance, the Local Government funding that was approved to help fund the program, but was never received by the Association). As an Association we have to make sure that we are not only willing to fund projects financially if we decide to do another Medical Mission in the future, but that we match it up with required man power to get the project completed with minimal stress to Association members assigned to complete the task. As stated above, due to the kidnapping that occurred during this period, some doctors dropped off the program, as such we had to spend more money than budgeted for the mission to hire more doctors, and buy medications. It will be imperative in the future that we fund our programs differently, I believe that it will be less stressful to have a pre-determined protocol to move funds should we find ourselves in the same predicament that we were in during this last mission; funds also need to be sent irectly to whoever the Association designates as the Mission or Program Coordinator.
I will like to take this opportunity to appreciate the entire membership of Ogwashi-uku Association for their overwhelming support of this Medical Mission, without their contributions this mission would not have been possible. We have disseminated Medical Mission Photos and Videos to all Association members as evidence of your National Dues and Levies at work. My appreciation goes out to Mrs. Ify Nwabukwu and the Medical team of AWCAA (African Women Awareness Association) for the extraordinary work they did during this Mission and for agreeing to continue with the Mission even when they had all the reasons not to do so due to the kidnapping in Ogwashi during this period. I also thank Dr. Mrs. Mabel Enemnwa and Peter Udegbue whose immense dedication to the service to Ogwashi-uku people significantly
contributed to the Missions success. Mary Okafor who kept a constant vigil during this Mission and beyond, I thank you for your dedication to Ogwashi-uku Association and for keeping our financial house in order. I wanted to especially thank Mr. Joe Ijeh who connected me to Mrs. Ify Nwabukwu the President of (AWCAA), I appreciate you. To Elias Uwandi, who was in Ogwashi-uku on vacation; I express my gratitude for generously giving of his time, helping and sticking with me throughout the Mission. To the Rector of Ogwashi-uku Polytechnic, Mrs. Mogekwu who donated Coaster Bus to the Mission my deepest appreciation. To Victor Ozieh, Andy Ogbue, Emma Obi, Reginald Ofuani, Chris Nwadiwe, Chuks
Ugonna Ndika and Martin Emelieze for their concern and constant contact with me during this Medical Mission, I thank them all for their support. To the Ndi Ideme (Obi in Council) I thank them for their reception and hosting of the Medical Mission members. A very special thank you to Hon. Angela Nwaka who took time off her busy schedule to help the Mission when I needed her most, she also donated N10, 000.00 to the Mission. To Mrs. Ann Chalokwu Orumade who cooked for the Medical Mission members, and donated N50, 000.00 to the Mission I thank you for your generosity. I appreciate Mr. Anthony Nwaka who donated N50,000.00 to the Mission, to Val Ozieh, who supported the Mission with N10,000.00, I thank you very much , my appreciation to the President of Beacon Club J.A Nkem for his donation of
N10,000.00 to the mission. My appreciation to Irene Udeh for her help with fund transfers during this mission, to Gabriel Ohai I give my greatest thanks for providing his three vehicles to the service of this Mission, without him I could not have been able to get around. To Eugene and Agatha Nwajei, my heartfelt gratitude to you, and all the field workers and volunteers who contributed to the Missions success, I thank you all, we could not have done it without you. To Emma Okafor ODU chairman, and all ODU members, on behalf of Ogwashi-uku Association USA we thank you for your support. Last but not the least, I thank all Ogwashi-uku people for being receptive to the Medical Mission, I thank all of you for your prayers for Ogwashi-uku Association USA members.
Ogwashi-uku Association USA Inc.