Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Missions: Health trip to Nigeria

A group of doctors from Oklahoma and some professional football players were a part of a mission trip to Nigeria. The nine day trip helped Nigerian doctors to improve health care.

From the Oklahoman, Susan Simpson details the trip.

The medical professionals were recruited for the Changing Africa Through Education mission by the players, who have family ties to Africa. The athletes were former University of Oklahoma standout Tommie Harris of the Chicago Bears; his teammates Israel Idonije and Adewale Ogunleye; Amobi Okoye of the Houston Texans; and Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants.

Medical participants worked with Nigerian doctors to conduct medical screenings, treat patients and offer educational programs to community leaders and health workers.

Integris pediatrician Dr. Okey Nwokolo said he was glad to return to his native country to help the many in need of healthcare.

"Many of them have medical conditions that required them to be seen in hospitals, but they don’t have access,” Nwokolo said. "There are a lot of sick kids. It is a big job, and they were very happy that we came.”

He said the football players are to be commended for their commitment. "They have big hearts, and they did a lot.”

The clinics in rural areas often operate without running water or electricity, said Dr. Johnny Griggs, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Integris.

"The poverty and disease was mind boggling” Griggs said. "Those people need so much.”

Unsafe water contributes to illnesses such as malaria and parasitic diseases, and many adults have high blood pressure or diabetes from poor, carbohydrate-rich diets.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I have to thank Osi Umenyiora and his colleague for taking such a brave step in assisting our health care practitioners to improve health. Given the significant decrease in life expectancy of Nigerians as result of the health care system lacking a clear underpinning value and direction, I believe this trip one-way or the other must have instilled the need of evidenced- based health care practice and quality improvement in maintaining our health system as that is the effective way of functioning.

Thank you guys for the great job!