Nigeria is located in West Africa and borders the country of Niger to the north, Chad (across Lake Chad) to the northeast, Cameroon to the east and Benin to the west. To the south, the Bight of Benin and the Bight of Biafra indent the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960.
Distance: 923,768 square kilometers (356,669 square miles)
Population: 115,224,000 (45 % under the age of 15)
Annual Per Capita Income: $1,300 ($3.55 per day)
Infant Mortality Rate: 7 % (approximately 1 baby out of 14)
3,930,000 People Afflicted
52,000 Deaths in 2004 to Date
61,600 New AIDS Cases in 2004
Based on the high infant mortality rate, the HIV/AIDS infection rate and the level of poverty, the African Children’s Foundation is committed to assisting certain rural areas of Nigeria in providing the needed resources to combat these problems. Consequently, Mr. Ossy E. Ahanotu, President of the African Children’s Foundation (ACF) took a 14-day tour of a number of hospitals and orphanages to assess the level of care and treatment currently provided to Nigerian children in assisted living facilities. The following facility summary contain the results of the visits.
Statistics By Country
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The Umuaka Community Hospital
P.O. Box 29, Umuaka, Imo State,Nigeria.
This hospital is located in a community called Umuaka. The Hospital is popularly called “Umuaka Community Hospital” (UCH) which, in the Nigerian language (Igbo), means the “Children”.
The hospital's main personnel include:
1. The Transition Chairman: Mr. Bony Nnaka
2. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Hyacinth Madueke
3. Matron: T.I. Okoro
The hospital serves about 200,000 patients from over five local government areas within the region. The hospital has two medical doctors; a General Practitioner and an Optician. Surprisingly the Children’s Hospital does not have a practicing Pediatrician. An eight-year-old child with acute gastroenteritis was introduced to Mr. Ahanotu. The doctor informed him that the boy currently receives several treatments including Flagyl by infusion and Darrow’s solution. Mr. Ahanotu also met with another child that was burning from fever but no one really knew his temperature because there was no thermometer in the entire hospital. The following day LACF members returned to the hospital with gifts of medical supplies such as thermometers, bandages, cough syrups, rubbing alcohol and Phenergan syrups. The organization also provided much-needed basic hygiene products such as bath soaps, antiseptic cleaning solutions and laundry soaps. The hospital also received a new cooking stove and a kettle from LACF. According to the matron Mrs. T.I. Okoro the hospital was in dire need of these supplies.
On a return visit to the hospital Mr. Ahanotu was introduced to Mr. Bony Nnaka, the transition Chairman of the hospital, Deputy Chairman Mr. Hycienth Madueke and several other department heads. He was briefed on the current state of medical care in the hospital and areas of which external aid would be required. Some of the issues raised were how to create a partnership between the hospital and another children’s in the United States and how to attract qualified medical professionals to the hospital.
The value of the medications and supplies was approximately N5,000.00
A new pediatric ward
Pediatric medical professionals
Ultra Sound machine
Motherless Baby Home at Karu
The first orphanage visited was The Motherless Baby Home in Karu. This is an orphanage located in the Capital of Nigeria, Abuja. Mrs. Auta the supervisor of the facility requested that all inquiries regarding the Motherless Baby Home should be directed to the attention of the Deputy Director of Youth Development at the Department of Health and Social Science Services, located at Area 3, opposite Nitel in Abuja.
ACF members were updated on the condition of the home. The establishment currently has 25 orphans with ages ranging from one month to sixteen years. Mrs. Auta stated some of these children are victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment. During the visit ACF members observed that the children were seated on mats and eating with their bare hands due to lack of adequate dining amenities such as a cafeteria complete with dining tables, chairs and eating utensils.
Surprisingly three HIV infected babies obviously in need of medical attention were placed in the same location as other healthy children. Due to the poor ventilation in the building some of the children were suffering from cough and cold. Occasionally the matron had to pick up milk from the health center bus she complained they were usually out of stock.
Before living the orphanage Mr. Ahanotu presented the children individual gifts such as toys, clothes and candies. The total cost of gifts given to the Motherless Baby Home was N34,000.00.
Based on the tour the needs for this home include a new dormitory structure, more beds for infants and older children, air conditioners and fans, dining room with tables and chairs, amenities for infants such as milk, feeding accessories, blankets, play mats, play pens, toys, etc. There is also a need for extra amenities for the care of HIV infected babies.
New dormitory structure
New Dinning Room structure
10 Infant beds
10 Bunks beds
Immediate need for existing structure:
Milk, feeding accessories
Blankets for infants
Amenities for the care of HIV infected babies
Victory Motherless Baby Home
Karimu, Abuja, Nigeria
The Victory Motherless Baby's Home, which is a privately owned facility for children managed by the proprietress, Mrs. F.C.C. Ibe.
Victory Motherless Baby’s Home has been in operation for six years. The orphanage is currently home to ten teenagers. Some of these teenagers come from homes where one or both parents are suffering from mental or physical disabilities and unemployment. Still others are juvenile delinquents or unwed pregnant teenagers. In case of the unwed pregnant teenagers, the home tries to locate their families and consult with them, but from experience, these families are uncooperative, in such cases they are counseled and cared for until they give birth. After birth the babies are given up for adoption.
Mrs. Ibe stated she was disappointed at the lack of awareness of HIV/AIDS in this country giving the fact that at least four infants from the center die of HIV/AIDS related cases within the first three months of their lives. There was also some encouraging news. Mr. Ahanotu was introduced to a two and one half years old boy who had lost his parents and twin sister to AIDS but so far the little boy has shown no sign of the disease. He also met four other children who were born with the HIV/AIDS virus but now test negative after being treated with anti-viral drugs locally developed by a Mr. Jacobs.
Although the aspect of care and ventilation was well considered, it was obvious that they needed more space and beds because the children were placed three to a bed. Mrs. Ibe remarked that the current sleeping arrangement is detriment to the children, especially during Siesta. Mrs. Ibe called our attention to a baby who was brought in badly eaten by ants. She also narrated the story of a young girl who abandoned her baby at their gate. A young girl, Naomi was introduced to LACF. She was in need of a role model and formal education. Mrs. Ibe said Naomi is very intelligent and that based on Nigerian standard she is in SS2, the equivalent of the third grade in American. Based on her age, she would be entering college in the year 2006.
On behalf of the African Children Foundation Mr. Ahanotu awarded Naomi with a College scholarship. Also on behalf of ACF Mr. Ahanotu presented the children at the home with gifts such as stuffed animals, school bags and clothes. Mrs. Ibe recommended that in the future, any item sent to the home from abroad could be sent through British Airways without any payments under a special arrangement. The total cost of gifts to the Victory Motherless Babies Home was N40,000.00.
In need of great assistance in completion of dormitory project, provision of a dinning room, laundry room with machinery, beds and bedding materials, tables and chairs, play mats, baby cots, feeding accessories for infants and children.
Poorest of the Poor Anawim Home
Gwagwalada Rehabilitation & Vocational Skill Center
P.O. Box 2678, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria
This facility is managed by Reverend Sisters. Assistant Sister in Charge, Sister Felecia welcomed Mr. Ahanotu and the LACF team to the center. The number of children in this home is minimal due to the lack of accommodation. Children with HIV are brought into the center and then taken to the hospital on regular bases.
There are exceptional cases were the home has to take in babies who are abandoned in nearby farms or streets. The sisters also offer counseling to pregnant homeless girls. These girls are encouraged to opt for the adoption of their babies to good Christian families. The Sisters usually go to the court with the families to legalize the adoption process and they pay routine visits to the new families to ensure that the babies are well cared for.
The center relies on funding from the American Embassy and a society from Ireland. Aside from the daily upkeep of the Home some of the funding from these contributors was used to create an Edict Program to improve the quality of education and to create new schools such as the Loyola Jesuits College for Boys and Girls. A make shift school for the children, not far away from the home with hard wooden tables and chairs and lecturing classes on art and crafts were also created.
During the tour of the Infant Jesus Nursery & Primary School at Bako Wall the Sisters informed Mr. Ahanotu that the school is in dire need of a proper infrastructure and amenities for the children.
Mr. Ahanotu had the opportunity to meet a bright little boy by the name of Mr. John Bosco who made quite an impression on him. On behalf of ACF Mr. Ahanotu presented the children the Poorest of the Poor Anawim Home with gifts such as teddy bears, toys, school bags and clothes.
The total cost of gifts given to the “Poorest of the Poor” Anawim Home was N32,000.00
In need of adequate school building with all the necessary amenities such as desks and chairs, chalk boards, and other educational supplies. A new school bus, a larger dormitory, baby cribs and youth bed
The Holy Family Orphanage
Specialist Hospital Road
Gwagwalada, Abuja, Nigeria
The Pope John Paul 11 Catholic Center, telephone nos. 09-5230161 and 09-5230277, supervises this ministry, care of Sister Pascal at telephone no. 08-035961109. The orphanage is popularly called the “Sisters of The Needy” and Maryland Holy Family Sisters Of The Needy.
Resident Assistant Sister, Sister Chaidi and Sister Pascal gave a tour of the Home. The center cares for abandoned children of all ages. However, it was obvious that the center is over crowded and in need of expansion. There is also a vocational school located on the premises, which provides self-employment skills. Aside from the orphanage, Sister Chaidi stated that the Sisters of the Needy also have outreach programs in nearby villages like Passo, Paiko, Dopi, Ledi I/II and Pagade. She also stated that some of the people in these villages are refugees who rely on the Sisters of the Needy for their daily food and clothing. As always Mr. Ahanotu met with some of the children and presented them gifts such as toys, school bags and clothes.
The total cost of gifts given to The Holy Family Orphanage was: N35,000.00
Overall Hostel expansion
20 Bunk beds
5 Beds for toddlers
Ceiling fans for ventilation