For a few days now, I’ve been on Medical Tourism across the state with #ImaBridgeAfrica – a faith-based charity, with a mission to provide financial and human resources for projects that empower the poor to eradicate the extreme poverty, promote gender equality, reduce child and maternal mortality and ensure environmental sustainability.
Judging from the glowing hope I see on the faces of people in each community we visit, it is proper to emphasize here that ImaBridge Africa is an organization with a large human heart!
The organization, led by its founder, Godwin Nsy-Ubom Asuquo and International President, Christine Carrington, together with a number of passionate foreign and home-based volunteers like Cecilia Adams Carleen Murphy and others, are in Akwa Ibom to render unquantifiable service to humanity.
ImaBridge Africa, for about 10 years now, has successfully undertaken sustainable developmental projects in the areas of Education, Health, Microfinance and Water.
In the area of EDUCATION, ImaBridge has sponsored about 30 Akwa Ibom indigenes in universities across Nigeria to B.Sc. and MSc levels, and have distributed over $6000 in scholarship money, educational materials and new school uniforms to pupils in public schools across the state.
The organization which is called to aid the African rural poor in developing skills, knowledge, attitudes and experience for self-reliance and the capacity to work together to solve their leading problems, has provided MICROFINANCE facilities that have transformed the lives of people in communities across the state. They are now running profitable businesses and are providing for their families through the income they earn.
WATER remains a basic part of life. That is why people trek up to 3-4 miles to fetch a gallon. Even in it’s unclean and unsafe state, water is an essential commodity in our communities.
According to World Health Organization, over 45,000 children under five die annually from water and sanitation-related diseases in Nigeria.
To tackle diseases caused by poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene, ImaBridge undertook several water projects in Ibesikpo Asutan, Ikot Abasi, Ibiono Ibom, Nsit Ubium and Mkpat Enin LGAs.
In the near future, depending on availability of funds, ImaBridge Africa hopes to install a new solar-powered borehole during each calendar year with the ultimate goal of providing safe, healthy, drinking water in areas with limited access to clean and safe water.
HEALTH remains a primary area of focus for ImaBridge Africa. With a goal to raise public awareness, facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid through the donation of medical equipment, supplies and medications and improve access to primary care services, ImaBridge has embarked on several life-touching projects.
These projects including the donation of an ambulance and 4D ultrasound machine to St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua; donation of medical equipment, medication and supplies to hospitals and health care facilities across the state; provision of crutches, walkers, wheelchairs and prosthetic legs to people living with disabilities.
Blessing is a young Akwa Ibom girl, born with bilateral club foot. ImaBridge Africa provided surgery, follow-up care and physical therapy for Blessing who is now able to walk.
ImaBridge’s Community Health Care Centre in Owot Uta, Ibesikpo Asutan, provides 24-hrs emergency and primary care services.
The projection is to build, in collaboration with partners and sponsors, a facility with out-patient and in-patient services; including an emergency room, laboratory services, ultrasound services, labor and delivery rooms, surgical theatre and recovery room, as well as a pharmacy. The facility will serve multiple rural villages with limited access to healthcare.
Every year, ImaBridge embarks on medical missions to Nigerian. Each visit is occasioned by free medical evaluation and treatment in communities with limited access to healthcare and provision of basic needs to members of these communities.
In a bid to improve access to health care and primary care services in Nigerians, ImaBridge Africa partnered with Marcel Ofomata Foundation, in January 2016, to offer a 2-day free medical diagnosis, treatment and professional referrals to over 1000 members of Isuofia – Ozalla community in Aguata LGA of Anambra State.
In 2017, ImaBridge Africa partnered with several pillars of the organization to provide free treatment to over 3000+ people and an estimated 4000+ people are expected to be treated in the 2018 mission trip currently undertaken by the organization.
Over 2000+ have already been treated of several prevalent health conditions like eye diseases, malaria, typhoid fever, diabetes, malnutrition, diarrhea and hypertension, etc, in Ibesikpo Asutan, Etim Ekpo and Ikot Abasi LGAs. More lives are expected to be transformed as the team visits Itu and Uruan LGAs.
ImaBridge Africa was instituted in 2008, at the request of one Newman Catholic Student at Northern Illinois University, where its founder, Rev. Fr. Godwin Nsikan Ibom Asuquo, was an Associate Pastor.
Funds were generated in a small dinner gathering, where the Reverend Father served authentic Nigerian dishes to parishioners, and that inspired five people to travel with Fr. Ubom to Nigeria, to distribute about $6000 in donations that were raised for scholarships. Returning to their base in the US, ImaBridge Africa was born.
ImaBridge Africa is building bridges of love from other continents to Africa. Its success story will remain inspiring and its impact will be felt across many generations.
Aniekan James Ekah, publisher www.wetinhappen.com.ng writes in from Uyo