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How our medical, surgical mission touched lives during Yuletide season – US-based Dr. Cliff Eke

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The Chima Medical Mission International, CMMI (www.chimamedicalmission.com), in collaboration with the Amafor Progressive Association, USA (APAUSA), from December 27 to December 31, 2023, held another successful free medical and surgical mission in Imo State Nigeria.

A report of the mission by the United States of America (USA)-based Founder/CEO of CMMI, Dr. Cliff Eke, said that the main event of the Mission was held on December 27, 2023 at the Public Health Center, Amafor, Imerienwe, Imo State, the same day the Center was officially commissioned as a Federal University Teaching Hospital Owerri (FUTHO Annex) by Dr. Kingsley Achigbu, Chief Medical Director (CMD) of FUTHO.

At the December 27 medical mission, he said that the multidisciplinary team of healthcare volunteers from the US with some personnel sourced locally in Nigeria, under his and Dr. Austan Nkwocha’s leadership, “attended to almost 1,000 people including about 200 children,” adding that over 300 reading glasses were also dispensed at the event.

He said that their team included Internal & Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Mental Health Nurse Practitioners, Infectious Disease Specialist, Endocrinologist, and General/Thoracic Surgeon as well as a Pharmacy team that filled out prescriptions and gave other directions.

He said that the team incorporated education and counseling as much as possible during their encounters with patients while complex cases were referred to FUTHO to be followed up by their colleagues from that institution who were also volunteering their services.

According to Dr. Eke, who said that the programme involved careful pre-mission planning including several Zoom meetings and WhatsApp correspondences by the multidisciplinary team of healthcare volunteers in the USA and Nigeria, noted that the most common ailments they saw were hypertension, malaria, depression, anxiety, malnutrition, cough and cold, diabetes, lumps and bumps, visual complaints, and hernias.

He noted that among the interesting cases they encountered was one of a 40 year old man who had head trauma six months earlier and was seeing only shadows during the daytime while seeing perfectly well at night. “I had never heard or seen such phenomena before,” he said pointing out that they also encountered newly diagnosed hyperthyroidism, burns, seizures, syndactyly in a newborn, symptomatic bilateral inguinal hernias in a 7 year old girl, and left inguinal hernia in an 11 year old boy.

“On December 28 my friend and colleague, Dr. Chikwendu Ejike, freely allowed me to use his Galaxy British Hospital in Owerri to operate on the girl with bilateral inguinal hernias and the boy with left inguinal hernia. He helped me get the anesthesiologist, Dr. Grant Madubuko, whom I paid discounted fees to provide anesthesia for the children. These were special cases, especially because each child had their painful hernias for over three years and the family could not afford to pay for the surgeries. The morning of the procedures I picked up the children and their parents from the village in my car and took them to the hospital in Owerri, where I performed the successful surgeries under spinal anesthesia. They’re both home and doing well to God’s glory. Thank you Dr. & Mrs. Ejike for your unwavering support!,” Eke said in his report.

He said that after the medical mission on December 27, word went out to more people who did not attend the free care and they started coming to his house in the village daily starting early in the morning. “So I was attending to patients daily in my house despite my desire to have some break and ‘vacation’ with my family that went to Nigeria with me,” he said, stressing that the trip turned out to be “the most exhausting trip to Nigeria so far for me! But thank God it was very productive.”

During the festive Yuletide season, he also featured as the keynote speaker for the 40th reunion of his high school, Government Secondary School, Owerri, insisting that “it was great seeing old classmates.”

Dr. Eke, a leader of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas, pointed out that “the healthcare need in our country is enormous and I dream of a day when medical/surgical missions like this will be rare events. However, given the current state of health in Nigeria and other developing countries, it would be a very long time for such dream to come to fruition.” He noted, however, that preventive health would be the “best bet.”

He thanked all those who gave generously to support the mission as well as those who offered prayers that made that contributed to make it possible for the medical team to touch lives with their God given talents, to His glory. “Each of us can do something to help and as a TEAM = Together Each Achieves More!”

He acknowledged and thanked some of other members of the mission’s team including the Security and Logistics personnel, Students, Residents, Assistants (Oly, Gabby, Chioma and Chimaobi Eke), Dr. Mbata, Dr. Ngozi Ekeigwe, Dr. Achonwa, Dr. Omeje Chukwuebuka, Dr. Chinonye Chima, Kelechi Nwaorgu (NP), Dr Esther Eke-Huber, Dr. Uche Osuji, Ada Eke, Chioma Chima, Nzeabibe Kelechi, Ngozi Eke, Igbokwe Ifeoma, Okere Rejoice Chimuanya, Amarachi Blessing Nwosu, Ikechukwu Ruth, Okere Ozioma, Sybil Samuel, Iwe Sop, Franklin, Eke Patience, and Carmelita Onuador, praying that God will bless them all!

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