by Alex Nnabue ’18
Every year, a committed team of medical doctors and volunteers, ranging from optometrists, plastic surgeons, and physicians participate in a three-day medical outreach project at Egwedu Health Center in Imo State, Nigeria. The mission is led by my father Dr. Alex Nnabue, Dr. Stanley Okoro and sponsored by Atta Nwanbiri Central Union USA.
The doctors, natives of the Atta community, practice medicine in the United States. The medical missions give them an opportunity to contribute to the development of their community, helping more than 3,000 citizens.
I served as a volunteer and witnessed the treatment of men, women, and children as they received free reading glasses, laboratory exams, and medication. I assisted the patients by collecting their prescriptions and providing them with eyeglasses. The mission addressed various medical challenges such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and surgeries. I interviewed members of my village community and doctors for my documentary titled, “Atta Village Medical Mission Documentary” on YouTube. “This is good. I am happy because I am now able to receive medication and glasses. I also get the opportunity to check my blood pressure,” said Chidera, a local village inhabitant.
Many months of preparation were devoted to this mission trip as the doctors gathered equipment and medication, as well as prepare for transportation.
“It is a busy environment to be in but all of us here are happy that we have come home to give back to our community during the Christmas season. My team of optometrists and I have been able to aid thousands of villagers by providing free check-ups and glasses,” said Dr. Nnabue.
“It is a lot of hard work but the results make it worthwhile. I had the opportunity to do surgery as I removed a lymphoma tumor growth from the forehead of a patient,” said plastic surgeon Dr. Stanley Okoro.
Besides direct medical treatment, the outreach project brings unity to the area and encourages medical facility development. It also provides an opportunity for the University of Maryland premed students to gain experience in the field as they serve as volunteers.
“The experience has strengthened my interest in becoming a doctor and allowed me to enhance my perspective as I see how basic medical treatment that people in the United States take for granted, brought a smile to the faces of many,” said my sister Ashley Nnabue, who graduated from Sherwood in 2016.
His Royal Highness Eze Edwin Azike along with two other traditional rulers of the village expressed gratitude for the medical mission and look forward to the team returning later this year.
To support efforts to rebuild the hospital and allow more medical missions to occur, I launched a Gofundme fundraiser called “Atta Njaba Medical Mission.”