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Freelance Journalist, Volunteer of G&M Foundation
The Goodness & Mercy Health Center Clinic in Ajalli, Nigeria is now opened and is receiving an average of 10 patients on a daily basis. The 6 bed clinic officially opened its doors on March 18, 2011 after the shut down of a previous clinic in same facility last year. Doctor and Founder of the Goodness & Mercy Foundation, Eugene Nwosu along with his wife, Mrs. Mary Nwosu, went back to Ajalli for the ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the clinic as well as to inaugurate the board members of Goodness & Mercy Foundation, Nigeria.
In attendance at the ceremony were board members: Mr. Sylverius Okoli, Mrs Amaka Awodein, Dr John Onwumere, Mrs Rose Ifezulike, Mr Obinani Nwosu, Dr. Robert Okereke, Pastor Angus Okoli, Mrs Oduagu Oji-Obasi, and Dr. Augustine Onyeri. Mazi Cajetan C. Okoli, the Vice President of Ajalli's Welfare Union, which is the main governing body of Nigeria, did the ribbon cutting.
Thanks to the Goodness & Mercy Foundation, Inc. the clinic now has working indoor toilets, newly painted rooms, landscaping around the perimeter of the clinic, brand new x-ray machines, a complete automated lab, a functional ultrasound system, and a new EKG machine.
There were ten staff members hired on a full-time basis to run the clinic. Among these staff members are a practicing doctor, two nurse midwives, a lab scientist, an x-ray technician, a nurse aid, and a security guard.
"The idea for the clinic is for it to be self-sustaining," said Dr. Nwosu, "There is a fee to see the doctor and lab fees are not free either." According to Dr. Nwosu, the general fee charged to see a doctor is .300 and for an overnight stay, .500. $1 has an exchange rate of .150 in Nigeria, so this means that the Ajalli community can get some medical care for less than $2 a visit, which is much less than traveling to the city.
Patients who visit the clinic normally come in to be treated for infectious diseases, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, diabetes, malaria, and typhoid fever among other things. Some of the services rendered to patients include child delivery/maternity, wound care, ultrasounds, x-rays, electrocardiograms, fully automated lab tests, and general medical care.
Goodness & Mercy's main goal for the clinic is to ensure that those who are impoverished, living under the poverty line have access to reasonable medical care. It is upon this belief that the foundation came into existence. On October 2001, Dr. Eugene Nwosu, his wife Mrs. Mary Nwosu, Dr.'s Mark Manocha and Cliphane McLeod, and Mrs. Joan McLeod established the Goodness &Mercy Foundation to help the sick and needy in Africa. The foundation offers humanitarian medical services and health/nutrition education to the improvised of Africa.
Years before the foundation was established, Dr. Nwosu had been making several trips back to Nigeria and on each trip, he held a free medical clinic where he treated the sick. The mission trips were a way for him to offer free consultations, and medications to those who could not afford proper medical care. Often times, he offered funds to people in need of medications he did not have in his possession. The trips served as a short-term relief of the health needs facing the community but he knew that something had to be done on a wide scale that will ensure long-term relief of the needs facing the Ajalli community.
In July 2001, an expanded team of medical professionals in an effort to offer medical care to the people of Ajalli, travelled back with Dr. Nwosu and Dr. Martin Nwankwo, a Pediatrician in Detroit, Michigan. They treated over 2,500 patients in their five day stay. Although, this medical mission was successful, the need for medical care on an ongoing basis was overwhelming and it was with this realization that the Goodness & Mercy Foundation was established.
Goodness &Mercy's decision to take over the management of the clinic, which was formerly known as the Ajalli Welfare Union Medical Center before the general practitioner left, came as a result of the growing need for ongoing medical care in the Ajalli community. The center had a small lab that was non functional, 6 beds and no clean water systems. Water was delivered by a big water tanker and the water's source was from a stream in the area.
According to the United Nation Development Program, 90 percent of wastewater in developing countries is discharged into rivers and streams without any treatment. This was not good for a community prone to water-born diseases due to the lack of safe drinking water in the community. In taking over the management, Goodness & Mercy immediately noticed the absence of a clean water system in the center and decided to add a deep well with an overhead tank, which in Nigeria is known as a "borehole." The borehole will ensure that the clinic will have access to clean water on a daily basis.
In addition to supplying the clinic with a clean water system, the foundation also built a public water system located 200ft away from the clinic bore hole. The public water system will give the few families residing close to the clinic, access to clean water on a daily basis. There was also ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of this tank on March 18th. The public system will surely reduce the number of deaths associated with water-born diseases in the community, which according to the World Health Organization, kills about 1.6 million people per year in developing countries.
One of the last ceremonies held during the March 18th visit was the opening of the Goodness & Mercy Library which is located next to the clinic. The library is a fully functional one with two hired staffs and two computers. "Right now, the library is very functional as people come in, sign in and read at their leisure," said Mrs. Nwosu. Adults and children are allowed to come into the library from 8:30am to 5pm and read books inside. According to Mrs. Nwosu, books are never borrowed out of the library due to the absence of a tracking method so tables and chairs are made available for patrons to use.
Three years ago, the Good & Mercy Foundation organized a book drive in Savannah, Georgia with the help of the local CBS station, WTOC-TV and Anchor/Reporter Dawn baker. The book donations were then shipped to Lagos, Nigeria by the foundation. Once the donations arrived in Lagos, Mr. S.I.C. Okoli cleared them and paid for them to be transported to its final destination, Ajalli, Nigeria. Envisioning the impact the donations will make in the lives of the people of Ajalli, the foundation decided to organize and run a community library. This is how the Goodness & Mercy Library was established. According to Dr. Nwosu, the next goal is to hold computer training sessions in the library as they seek more computer donations as well as training software. The ceremonies were not the only thing that took place during the March visit. Three Ajalli citizens were recognized for services rendered to the foundation. Chief S.I.C Okoli received a Community Service Award for his strong support and commitment to the goals of the foundation. Dr's. John Onwumere, anophthalmologist, and Robert Okereke, an Obstetrics and Gynecologists, received a Volunteer Award for their exemplary service.
Goodness & Mercy Foundation, Inc. wants to focus primarily on Education and Health care, Preventative care, Health, HIV, Nutrition, Immunization, Maternity and Infant/Child health care. There is no doubt that the foundation is a saving grace for the impoverished of Africa, and it's a breath of fresh air to know that on a grassroots level, this foundation is accomplishing so much more with the little resources available to them in order to improve the lives of so many Africans living in poverty.
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