Doctor Engages Community to Raise Funds for Equipment for a General Hospital in Nigeria
Samuel Onuh, a young medical doctor serving with Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at a rural outpost in Kwara State, recently proved that one determined person can move mountains. Shortly after his arrival at General Hospital Omu Aran, in July, 2010, he watched a child who needed respiratory support due to the absence of a functioning Ambu resuscitator bag in the hospital. His senior colleagues had struggled to save the life of the boy, pumping adrenalin to keep the heart.
Inspired by a Leadership Development Program organized by the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Prevention Organization AIDS Care and Treatment Project (ProACT) in Abuja, where he heard an inspirational lecture on leadership, he established the HealthPact Project - a platform for engagement with community and industry leaders towards the provision of hospital equipment.
Dr. Onuh, who served at Management Sciences for Health’s ProACT-supported HIV facility in Omu Aran, recently contributed the donation of hospital equipment worth N700, 000 (about $4,500) to the hospital.
On April 27, a hand-over ceremony for the equipment on the General Hospital grounds, was witnessed by a large crowd including the Local Government Chairperson, a representative of the Community leader, the Olomu of Omu, Community Chiefs, and the Commissioner for Health.
The Honorable Commissioner for Health received the equipment with a letter of commendation to Dr. Onuh and an on-the-spot promise of employment, while NYSC Kwara State honored him with the ‘Best Youth Corper of the Year’ award in June, recommending him for an NYSC award at the national level.
Onuh established the HealthPact project early in 2010 to help “reduce avoidable deaths in Omu Aran hospital through the provision of basic diagnostic, therapeutic and life-saving health equipment.”
He used the project, to “stimulate community participation, giving a sense of collective ownership of the health care delivery system in the community.” His work has earned him the respect and admiration of community members in Kwara.
Samuel Onuh implemented the project with active support from the General Hospital management, which helped him engage effectively with opinion leaders in the community. His ideas were well-received and donations rolled in earlier than he anticipated, culminating in the equipment launch.
He expressed gratitude to the different donors for bringing his dream to fruition; to MSH for paying his stipends, and encouraging, training and mentoring him in HIV & AIDS treatment and the hospital staff, especially its leadership for support.
MSH implements the USAID-funded Prevention Organizational Systems AIDS Care and Treatment Project (Pro-ACT) in six Nigerian States. Funded under the PEPFAR program, ProACT supports the provision of a comprehensive range of HIV/AIDS treatment and care services at the General Hospital, Omu Aran, Kwara State, and in 24 other sites.