The Ministry of Mercy medical center at Lokoja, Kogi State, Nigeria, is currently comprised of two dormitories, one for women, girls, and small children, and the other for men and older boys. Currently there are about 100 people living there, either in care or as caregivers, with the number growing constantly. It has recently become apparent that the further needs of the larger community would be greatly enhanced by a Medical Center built adjacent to the orphanage. This would serve the immediate needs of the orphans and others already in care but also, in far larger part, serve the larger surrounding community in general health issues but especially in the areas of:
Women’s & Pregnancy Care Labor & Delivery Infant mortality AIDS/HIV
Though already established and further anticipated contacts and cooperation with Western groups a new medical facility would also serve as a convenient center from which visiting medical teams could work. By far, the majority of those brought to MOM are orphans and many of those, especially newborns, are showing advanced deterioration due to dehydration, infection, or neglect. It is not uncommon for women to die while giving birth due to entering childbirth in a weakened condition due to AIDS, chronic malaria or other, or to die soon afterward due to poor medical care or sanitation. And the resultant infants, if they survive birth, are especially at risk because, while the father may be still alive, he is often unable to care for them properly largely due to an inability, lack of knowledge or unwillingness to provide proper care including the relatively large cost of medical care and baby formula.
These infants are often poorly cared for for some time after the mother’s death and then are brought in desperate condition to MOM as a last resort. The effort and cost to save a child like this at a for-profit local hospital is often huge since the issues are often not just advanced dehydration and malnutrition but secondary and tertiary complications such as HIV or other infections.
While all of the above direct needs of the orphanage would be improved in terms of response time, cost, follow-up and, usually, quality of care, the proposed Medical Centre would also serve those in the community and surrounds who are unable to access quality medical care usually due to inability to afford care. As is the policy of the orphanage, the Medical Center would serve everyone without discrimination of any type, including inability to pay.
While the new Medical Centre would be able to respond more efficiently to the medical needs of the community, it is thought that the greatest long-term benefit of this project will be its proactive ability to stem the death of mothers, and therefore the creation of orphans in the first place. This will be achieved by a dedicated focus on ensuring as many pregnancies as possible result in healthy babies and mothers.
Some of the possible programs would be:
· free of charge delivery of babies
· free educational clinics for expectant mothers
· prenatal checkups to determine at risk pregnancies
· well-baby clinics held to ensure a good start
· early childhood nutrition and care education clinics
· community health conference
· training clinics for village midwives
· other medical and educational programs to address emergent needs
Having a dedicated Medical Center would also facilitate visiting medical teams from overseas or other parts of Nigeria. For example, a medical team of about 15 American doctors, nurses and support persons visited MOM Otutulu to conduct a medical clinic for the local area. They were joined by various doctors and others from around Nigeria. They stayed for a number of days performing surgeries and other necessary medical care in makeshift rooms. While the teams were there they performed over fifty cataract surgeries, five fibroid surgeries, and over fifty other surgeries including appendix removal and hernia repair. If a properly equipped medical center was available in Lokoja this would be much more likely to happen here too, to great benefit to all.
As of November 2015, the construction of the building is fundamentally complete. We are in negotiations with one charity to provide refurbished surplus medical equipment to outfit the hospital. Issues such as volunteer staffing and ongoing costs to run the hospital still remain to be worked out. To help, please contact us for more information.