A U.S.-based Nigerian Healthcare Foundation (NHF) has conclluded arrangements to embark on a two-week medical mission trip to rural parts of Nigeria in July.
Dr Iwuozo Obilo, founder of NHF, who disclosed this at the 13th Annual Faces of Hope and Gala Night in Newark, pledged his continued contributions to improving the healthcare of Nigerians in rural communities.
Obilo, who is one of the best paediatricians in New York, carries out a two-week yearly medical mission trips to rural parts of Nigeria, where access to basic healthcare is limited, in conjunction with medical and health personnel partners and volunteers.
He said: “Helping people is something that we cherish but the most important thing is the joy that I have each time I go to Nigeria.
“I thank those of you that have supported and inspired most of us, that doing these things would help our communities; I want to thank the volunteers for the journey.
“You know the sweat, the cry and the pain to serve the people we take care of. The credit is yours, not mine, because without you, the journey would be very difficult.
“I will only stop doing what I’m doing the day I’m dead. But as long as I’m alive, it’s something that I have committed my life to – taking care of those that can’t help themselves”.
Dr Nelson Aluya, a Nigerian Professor of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, who was Chair of the event, commended Obilo for making a difference in the lives of the people.Nigerian envoys and diaspora Nigerians commended Obilo for his contributions to improving the healthcare of Nigerians in rural communities and Nigerians in the diaspora.
“Every day we wake up is an opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life. Today’s event is yet an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life somewhere and somehow.
“And these are people you don’t know, have not seen or probably would never see for the rest of your life. Often times, we live in the comfort of our homes not understanding the pain and the harrow that people in parts of the world go through,” Aluya said.
Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, commended Obilo for his tireless contributions to Nigeria and support to Nigerians adding, NHF has done so much since 1995.
He said: “When you have special skills like these in medical profession and decide to use them towards the improvement of the less privileged in their homeland, it is really a great thing.Bande, who was represented by Ms Nini OkeyUche, Minister at the mission, said: “As diplomats, when we see Nigerians doing great things, we talk with joy”.
“There are so many people who don’t know where they come from. I hear of African-Americans claiming countries because they are desperate to find their roots.
“But here we have professionals who know where they are from and they are giving back to the society. Dr Obilo, we are so proud of you and what you’re doing”.
“Dr Obilo is a family doctor and I’ve never seen a doctor like him in my life. If not that I know him very well, I will say he’s an armed robber.The outgoing Nigerian Consul-General in New York, Tanko Suleiman, expressed surprise at the level of Obilo’s philanthropy, particularly, among the Nigerian community in the U.S.
“This is a man that everybody here goes to for treatment. Every Nigerian that I know goes to him for medical treatment and he treats them free without collecting a cent.
“I have come to register our appreciation for the excellent job Dr Obilo is doing in Nigeria and I am telling you that I will write my report to the government.
“I will let them know what you are doing not only in Nigeria but with Nigerians in this country and everywhere,” Suleiman said.
Ras Baraka, Mayor of Newark, said “NHF is always eager to support the improvement of healthcare in Nigeria, improving the lives of millions of people of the great nation and growing economic power”.
In his speech read by Nigerian-born Ugo Nwaokoro, Deputy Mayor, International Relations and Diaspora Affairs, Baraka laud Obilo’s collaboration with other Diaspora Africans to improve lives in Africa.
“Their working here among the African diaspora to support the continent shows the unity, commitment and love of the African and African-American people to achieve progress and eliminate poverty in Africa,” he said.
The Distinguished 2018 Honourees at the event were: TalkNaija, Inc. – Community Leadership Award – and Dr Bosah Ebo, a Professor of Communications at Rider University, New Jersey – Champion of Hope Award.