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UC Irvine School of Medicine — RESEARCH and DEVELOPMENT OUTREACH Trip: Health Disparities are Issues of Poverty
May 27, 2016 - June 8, 2016Free
Health Disparities are Issues of Poverty:
A Research and Development Trip to Ibadan, Nigeria
Ms. Faith Chibugo Njoku, Medical Student at University of California, Irvine School of Medicine will visit Nigeria where she will meet with other BRI leaders, members and supporters, using what she has learned from PovertyCure and elsewhere to create a platform from which to discuss how education, improvements in healthcare management, and refocused health policy can foster positive socio-economic solutions in rural Nigerian villages. By reaching medical students, local physicians, and the greater Ibadan community, Ms. Njoku and the “Project Group” will explore the local government’s role, or lack thereof, in Ibadan’s primary health sector.
There are many outcomes built in to Ms. Njoku’s trip to Nigeria. One major goal will be the opportunity to establish a retrospective study at the University of Ibadan Medical School utilizing UC Irvine School of Medicine’s Ultrasound Research Initiative. The Ultrasound Research Initiative fosters a human centered design process involving ultrasound for the use in primary care as a first line of defense for early diagnoses. Midwives and primary care hospitals need a device that is very simple to learn and easy to operate.
THE PROJECT GROUP
BRI Chapters Involved: Faith Njoku, medical student and BRI chapter president at UC Irvine School of Medicine will travel to Oyo State, Nigeria for thirteen days to work with Aishat Olanlege, medical student, and BRI chapter founder and president at the University of Ibadan Medical School, other BRI leaders, members, and supporters.
You can read the entire project overview HERE.
POST-EVENT SUMMARY: By Faith Njoku
My trip to Ibadan in Nigeria was very successful. Working alongside the BRI chapter president and leaders from Ibadan University and holding a meeting for the Poverty, Inc. screening allowed us to explore different areas of medical economics and health policy to share with the attendees.
I had the opportunity to meet with local physicians and nurses in Ibadan who had previous experience with the local Primary Health Centres (PHC), and their overall lack of government regulation, support, and access to appropriate resources to sustain the centres. The PHC’s are the bedrock of Nigeria’s healthcare system, and there is currently a lot of dialogue regarding the appropriate way to manage them.
I’ve learnt that the healthcare system in Nigeria is a reflection of the country, which is at the mercy of inconsistent electricity, running water, fuel, resources, and funding. As the national government allocates all healthcare sector funds based on government revenue, fluctuating oil profits determine the support given to primary health centres, physicians, residents, and healthcare workers. Complete and sole dependency on the Nigerian government for aid tends to limit access to affordable and appropriate technology, resources, and drugs needed for quality health and medical care.
My trip to Nigeria provided the opportunity to discuss how to shift the medical education paradigm, and better prepare medical students and physicians to think of alternative solutions to alleviate the current funding scarcity and infrastructure inconsistency.
By introducing portable ultrasound technology, education can serve as one medium to bridge a gap between services the Ibadan University College of Medicine provides and the resources needed at the PHC level in Ibadan. I’m thankful for my affiliation with UC Irvine School of Medicine and the opportunity to participate in their research initiative. This much needed discussion on medical innovation, technology, and economics sparked interest and generated conversations with the incredibly bright medical students I had the pleasure of working with.