Local Resident Returns
Jarrod McNaughton, San Joaquin Community Hospital's associate vice president, has grown to love the people of Nigeria, and finds they have a strong sense of community. Over the past ten years, he has joined others on medical missions to help the citizens of the largest country in Africa build and equip hospitals, treat diseases, and educate them on public health.
Nigeria has more than 120 million people in an area slightly twice the size of California with over 250 tribal languages spoken. More than 3.6 million of the Nigerians have acquired HIV/ AIDS, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.
|It's exciting to go on a trip where the only goal is helping our global neighbors and showing the people that there is a God who loves them very much." |
"We go because the need is so great," says McNaughton. "Each year our team treats thousands of people for everything from leprosy to large scale infections. It's exciting to go on a trip where the only goal is helping our global neighbors and showing the people that there is a God who loves them very much."
The team, consisting of volunteers from around the country, visited Ife, a city in West Nigeria, where Adventist Health International, a sister organization to SJCH, has a 150-bed hospital. Based at the hospital compound, the team would travel every morning approximately one hour through the jungle to different villages where they would set up a mobile clinic at each site. Over 650 patients were seen during the five days of clinics.
McNaughton says one of the biggest problems the people of Nigeria face is malaria. Easily treated with a drug therapy of Fansidar and quinine tablets, malaria still kills millions of Africans each year. "We would see about one in every five patients have malaria," he says.
|"...family is community and community
is family." |
Next to malaria, another health concern for the villagers is intestinal parasites. They get these worms from drinking unsafe water, going barefoot, and from improperly cooking their food. Through public health lectures, the team educates the villagers about prevention Ė drink water from the source, not down stream, wear shoes, even flip flops, and check the temperature of cooked meat.
The people of Nigeria welcome the team's help, and truly want to help each other, McNaughton says. "They have the idea that family is community and community is family. Their family unit is more than just who lives in your little hut or your little home; it is your entire village."
"We want to touch as many lives as possible to help educate and treat the people of Nigeria," McNaughton says.
"We are so grateful that San Joaquin Community Hospital donated supplies and equipment for the project."