Medical Mission taken to another scale


In many online forums there have been discussions, often heated about the value of so called “medical missions” to Nigeria by Nigerian medical professionals living in the so called “Diaspora”.

Find in Vanguard…and Sun a report about medical missions taken to another level when the Anambra Association in the USA, (ASA-USA) recently went home with over 54 medical professionals in the fields of general surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, internal medicine, family medicine, pharmacy. pediatrics, nursing, and anesthesiology, and spent over $800,000 worth of medications on its mission to the state. They have been at this for a while as reported here.

This group also is planning on building an “ultra-modern” hospital in the state as reported here by the Vanguard.

Patients waiting to be seen…
Patient being seen…

Delegation received by Governor Obi…

The jury is still out on the value of medical missions….and maybe these discussions are flawed. Some problems such as chronic surgical conditions such as cataracts where patients can be prepared for the arrival of a surgical team are ideal for missions. However, for chronic medical conditions, it is of little value for a diagnosis of diabetes for instance to be made by colleagues on a medical mission when there is little availale in sustainable healthcare to provide long term care…

However…bottomline maybe is that in all we do we should also include a capacity building element for colleagues on the front lines as well as an advocacy component for better healthcare provision by those whose responsibility it is to provide healthcare.

To those that commit their time, energy and resources to do the little that they can do….we say thank you, as there are many others out there, that really don’t care about the country from where they got a medical education….virtually for free.

What do you think about medical missions?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

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