According to the World Health Organization life expectancy at birth for men and women in Nigeria is estimated at 54 and 55 years respectively. Diseases that modern medicine can prevent, such as malaria and tuberculosis, cause many of these early deaths. The Nigerian Healthcare foundation is working to fix this problem, and has been doing so since 1995 when Nigerian pediatrician, Dr. Iwuozo L. Obilo, founded the organization.

 

Nigerian Healthcare Foundation delivers Medical relief and aid to rural communities in Nigeria

Scene from one of NHF’s mission trip in Nigeria (nhfinc.org)

Today NHF, via its team of doctors, nurses and many public health and non-medical volunteers, carry out mission trips year over year, to provide relief and medical aid to women, children and families in rural communities in Nigeria.  These trips are funded in large part through their annual “Faces of Hope Gala,” set to take place this year on Apr. 2 at the Hyatt Regency located at 2 Exchange Place, Jersey City, NJ.

 

In anticipation of this event, we sat down with Executive Director of the Nigerian Healthcare Foundation, Ijeoma Obilo Faison, to learn more about NHF’s humanitarian approach to mitigate medical crisis in rural Nigeria and improve the lives of people without immediate access to medical care.

 

Nigerian Healthcare Foundation delivers Medical relief and aid to rural communities in Nigeria

Ijeoma Obilo Faison, Exec. Dir., NHF (www.nhfinc.org)

MUI Daily News: What do you want people to know about healthcare in Nigeria?

Ijeoma Obilo Faison: The healthcare situation in Nigeria is by and large dire.  Most Nigerians and especially those in the more rural areas of the country have little or no access to adequate healthcare options.  People die of extremely curable diseases because they lack the basic access or understanding to treat their ailments.  The Nigerian Healthcare Foundation, Inc. (NHF) was created specifically to combat this blight and provide not only healthcare resources but a sense of hope to Nigerians, letting them know that no one has been forgotten and that we are dedicated to providing for the basic healthcare needs of as many people as possible.  It is a driving force of our work and why we are so committed to pushing for change and growing our organization further. 

 

MUI Daily News: What are some ways people can get involved with NHF?

Nigerian Healthcare Foundation delivers Medical relief and aid to rural communities in Nigeria

2016 Faces of Hope Gala (nhfinc.org)

Ijeoma Obilo Faison: There are many ways for people to get involved with NHF. You can

1) Make monetary donations to NHF.  All donations are tax-deductible as we are a 501(c)3 charitable organization.

2) Volunteer to participate on our medical mission trips to Nigeria.  These trips are typically 2-3 weeks in length and are held every summer either in July 6 – 18.

3) Make in-kind donations of medicine, medical supplies or items for hygiene or educational materials; many of these items are highlighted under our “Nigeria Smiles Campaign.”

4) Purchase tickets to attend and also help us market our signature fundraising events, such as our annual “Faces of Hope Gala.”  These are marquee events and are crucial to furthering our vision and mission to a wider audience.

 

MUI Daily News: What is your favorite story about your time at NHF?

Dr. Obilo delivering medical relief and aid to a woman and child in Nigeria (nhfinc.org)

Dr. Obilo delivering medical relief and aid to a woman and child in Nigeria (nhfinc.org)

Ijeoma Obilo Faison: While we are particularly proud of our recognition by the United Nations as an NGO in 2010, our favorite stories are and will always be about the critical work we do on the ground in Nigeria.  During our 2007 mission trip, we encountered one individual who was suffering from diabetes and had a significant wound in his leg.  As a result of his affliction and his injury, he required the use of a cane and still could barely walk.  After visiting our mission site, this gentleman was properly educated on his diabetic condition, given medicine and informed on what actions he should take with his regimen to improve his health.  By the time we left the mission site, this gentleman informed us that his wound was starting to heal and he was starting to feel better.  Fast forward a year, when during our subsequent mission trip, this man returned – walking under his own power!! – to let us know how much our mission work and intervention had played a critical role in saving and re-charting the course of his life.  This is our favorite story about NHF because it encapsulates everything good about who we are as an organization and what we are capable of achieving on an even grander scale with the generous support of our benefactors.

 

MUI Daily News: Are there any significant companies or people you have partnered with in the past?

Nigerian Healthcare Foundation delivers Medical relief and aid to rural communities in Nigeria

NHF mission trips are for individuals looking to make an impact (nhfinc.org)

Ijeoma Obilo Faison: We have worked with Hackensack University Medical Center as a lead sponsor for many years as well as Arik Airlines as our preferred airline and supporter of NHF.  In addition, we have worked with Western Union.  We have been supported by many dignitaries, including Ambassadors at the United Nations and the Consul General of Nigeria.  Celebrities have included Super Bowl Champion James Ihedigbo.

 

MUI Daily News: We noticed that it is not necessary to be a healthcare professional to go on the missions to Nigeria.  What are the ways a person who is not a healthcare professional is able to help out on the ground in Nigeria?

Ijeoma Obilo Faison: It is absolutely right that non-healthcare professionals can assist greatly during mission trips.  We need a considerable amount of help during the missions to coordinate and manage logistics of people requiring our medical services.  Additionally, NHF is not only focused on healthcare but on the welfare of all disadvantaged individuals in the rural parts of Nigeria.  As such, we need help with distributing resources that are donated during our “Nigeria Smiles” in-kind fundraising efforts, such as educational materials to school-aged children and various hygiene items.

 

The Nigerian Healthcare Foundation is doing incredible work to save the lives of many Nigerians today. Visit nhfinc.org to learn more about NHF, their upcoming Faces of Hope Gala, and how you can be a part of their mission trip in July.