Annual letter 2013
Throughout the years I have been struck by the level of poverty in rural/ urban Nigeria and lack of access to basic amenities available to Nigerians and during this last year, I kept on remembering one of my favorite quotes “the highest use of capital is not to make more money but to make money do more for the betterment of life” Henry Ford.
My annual letter this year will emphasize the importance of the key areas of focus for the foundation- healthcare, education and empowerment and how we can improve the health and welfare of Nigerians. This is why we have decided to grow in phases by adding new areas as we master the one after the other. As a result in 2013, we will be focusing primarily on healthcare. The HAMI school project will also commence September 2013 and we have our pilot empowerment program in Augie, Kebbi State.
Healthcare is a major issue in Nigeria particularly in the rural areas; most of the resources are concentrated in the cities. Many people are caught in the cycle of poverty, ill health, lack of education and have difficulties with transportation and communication, while most healthcare facilities in rural areas face the challenge of shortages of doctors and other health professionals. There is a need to focus specifically on improving the health of people in the country in general. Furthermore, due to this life expectancy is 48.9 for men and 55.3 for women compared to 75 for the USA while Japan leads with 79.1. That is why AMA foundation has taken it upon itself to help combat some of these health issues rampaging our society by reaching out to all the six geo-political zones in the country.
” The global community should recognize that good health is a way out of poverty. It results in a greater sense of well being and contributes to increased social and economic productivity. The impact of ill health on productivity affects not only the poor, but societies and economies as well” World Health Organization. Global Forum for Health Research. 10/90 Report. Switzerland: WHO; 1999.
This year the foundation intends to change and improve the quality of life of ordinary Nigerians by providing free cataract screening and surgery. Statistics from the Nigerian National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey showed that 42 out of every 1,000 adults aged 40 and above are blind and overall; two out of every three Nigerians are blinded by avoidable causes like cataracts. This is a disease that is treatable but unfortunately due to poor access to medical facilities, poverty and lack of awareness thousands of Nigerians are suffering from it. Currently, the Nigerian National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey showed that there are estimated 486,000 adults in the country who are in immediate need of cataract surgery.
This intervention is quite basic, yet will dramatically improve the lives of people in this country. Like Helen Keller famously said “There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.”
Cataracts are changes in clarity of the natural lens inside the eye that gradually degrade visual quality. The natural lens sits behind the colored part of the eye (iris) in the area of the pupil, and cannot be directly seen with the naked eye unless it becomes extremely cloudy.
Sadly, another major killer in Nigeria is malaria. It is a huge burden and continues to cripple the economic development of the country. History has shown that malaria can be eliminated. In Nigeria the disease is responsible for 60% of outpatient visits to health facilities, 30% of childhood deaths, 25% of deaths under one year and 11 per cent of maternal deaths. In financial terms, the disease is estimated to cost the country about 132 billion Naira (US$862.4 million) every year taking into account treatment and prevention costs, and loss of working hours (Nigeria MDG+ 10 showcase No 5 report http://library.sparc-nigeria.com/).
Fortunately, there have been milestones in the fight against malaria with the use of insecticide treated mosquito nets, anti- malaria drugs. The foundation intends to give out a minimum of 300 nets on each outreach program with preference given to pregnant women and women with young children. The drugs are free and available to all; our aim is to successfully treat 1000 patients each month.
We cannot talk about healthcare without emphasizing the need for clean water, water as we all know is life and without which we would be unable to survive. Clean water is one of the underlying factors to leading a healthy life. Therefore, in line with our focus on healthcare the foundation has built 5 mini solar powered water works in Horo village of Sokoto, which has tremendously affected positively the lives of people in that community. AMA intends to build more boreholes and provide easier access to portable water.
In the area of education, the HAMI Memorial School should commence full operation by September 2013 with 20 children. I believe that education is a fundamental human right and one of the critical factors in breaking the cycle of poverty. Furthermore, it is a key tool for development and an invaluable tool in terms of addressing social inequality. These children and their families will be provided with life skills that will enable them prosper in life. By the time they graduate from HAMI they will be equipped and empowered with skills that will enable them make full contributions to their communities.
Malcolm X said, “Education is an important element in the struggle to help our children and people rediscover their identity and thereby increase self-respect. Education is our passport to the future.”
The Tudun Wada area of Kaduna State where the school is located is a low income neighborhood, the school will not only educate the children but one of the foundation’s long term goals is to provide an entrepreneurship and adult education program for the parents of our pupils. We want to educate and change lives, children are the future and are pivotal to the developmental process.
We believe that little drops of water make an ocean and as a result, we are taking baby steps to achieve our ambitious goals.
Let me conclude by saying the foundation’s goal is to give back to society so much more everyday in every way we can. We have a lot of work to do in order to better the lives of our people. Let us all come together and do something for the less privileged by empowering them through education, entrepreneurship and healthcare.
Thank you.Musa Bello Abdullahi Founder