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Medical Mission to Nigeria

 

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Medical Mission to Nigeria
By Josephine Rather, MS, APRN, ANP-BC, AOCN

Since I retired after 34 years of employment at M.D. Anderson Hospital, I was excited to explore new things that were time prohibitive when I was employed fulltime. Recently, I had an opportunity to join a medical mission to Abuja, Nigeria, West Africa, as an Adult Nurse Practitioner (with certification in oncology), for two weeks. I was invited to be a part of this mission by my friend Eucharia Iwuanyanwu, Ph.D., P.A., founder and president of Africa Cancer Care Incorporated (ACCI). One goal of ACCI is to provide cancer health information to as many African people as possible. Dr. Iwuanyanwu organizes medical missions to Africa or Jamaica bi-annually. Health care professionals are invited to volunteer their time and skills for this very worthy cause.

The seventeen member team consisted of physicians, nurses, a physician assistant, a nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, administrative assistants and a driver. The local host, a church deacon, was also a retired admiral. The team was housed in a hotel in a small town. Every day we spent eight hours at a designated clinical site. Villagers gathered daily to hear health information and to be assessed for various medical conditions. The team members provided information about cancer prevention/detection and provided medical care for approximately 1,000 people. Additionally, members of our team, a surgeon, assisted by nurses, successfully completed 6 minor operations. In each case where a diagnosis revealed a serious health issue, the person was advised to follow-up with a local health care provider.

The people of Abuja were friendly and very grateful for our assistance and contributions. I highly recommend that more people participate in medical missions. Personally, I will always treasure this experience and look forward to another mission in the near future.

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