Nigerian community sponsors ‘Medical Fair’

Here’s how members of the Nzuko Ndi Igbo organization volunteers created an opportunity to help improve the health of all outer East Portland residents in need …

At the IRCO campus in the Hazelwood neighborhood, Nzuko Ndi Igbo Oregon and SW Washington (NNI) bring many organizations together to host a “Medical Fair”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a busy day at the campus of the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) on September 9, when the Nigerian (Igbo) Medical Fair brought together many organizations to host a now-annual medical fair.

Both in the parking lot, and inside IRCO’s Sokhom Tauch Community Center, health care professionals offered screening and some on-site direct healthcare services.

Welcoming patients to their health fair are Nzuko Ndi Igbo of Oregon and SW Washington Health and Wellness Chair; Dr. Chidi Nwizu, MD; organization President Dr. Alladin Ukiwe, PhD; and Language Co-Chair Dr. Uba.

“This is our third year of hosting this. It is a collaborative effort of Nzuko Ndi Igbo and IRCO, working together with all the partners you see, to provide medical care to folks in our community,” explained the organization’s Wellness Chair, Dr. Chidi Nwizu, MD.

The idea started, Dr. Nwizu recalled, with people from IRCO and NNI noticing that many refugees arriving in the community were in need of medical care. “Healthcare services were not available to many; our thought was to provide an environment where they can come in and have good health care.”

Taking a blood sugar reading, as part of routine diabetes screening is volunteer Ducahria Enemuo RN.

This wasn’t set up just for Nigerian immigrants, the doctor was quick to point out. “It is Nigerians who are providing and coordinating and organizing this health fair, open to all in need,” the Dr. Nwizu  told East Portland News.

“We have a great amount of resources in our community, and we wish to share that with which we’ve been blessed,” commented NNI President Alladin Ukiwe, PhD.

“Because we have many medical doctors and academics in our organization, we feel that it’s important to give back to our community – especially among immigrants and indigents,” Ukiwe said. “Many of these people don’t have health insurance – and, we think, it’s important for us to reach out to them and help them.”

Doing the refraction is ophthalmic technician Ezeleidys Sanchez.

During the medical fair, some 40 volunteers checked participants for diabetes, and helped them learn how to care for the condition if they had it. Others were checking blood pressure, and giving health advice to as many as 100 individuals during the day. Additionally, if needed, clients received immunizations, including tetanus shots.

Inside the building, and also out in parking lot in the OHSU Casey Eye Institute motor home, others were getting vision screening and care. Also set up in the parking lot was Medical Teams International’s Dental Van, where dentists provided examinations, and gave on-site dental care.

In Medical Teams International Dental Van are Natalia Sakun-Duvalko, DDS, from Ukraine; and, from Nigeria, Tochi Okeke, DDS, both of whom are taking a brief break between seeing patients.

In addition to the on-site care, many participants were referred to other organizations and medical providers for their long-term, comprehensive healthcare.

“When I see all these people come here, and receive medical help, I feel really nice,” Dr. Nwizu commented. “Think about it; folks are here, from as many as 15 different countries, getting caring healthcare in a setting in which they feel comfortable.”

More than 100 people receive medical care during this free health fair.

Find out more about Nzuko Ndi Igbo Oregon and SW Washington at their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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