Dear ANPA members, friends and colleagues, I thank you for electing me as the 12th President of the Association of Nigerian Physicians in the Americas. I appreciate your trust, the privilege to serve and this honor that you have bestowed upon me as the leader of this wonderful organization.
I want to express my sincere appreciation to ANPA Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for their support and dedication. Over the last 2 years, our Past President, Dr. Michael Etomi, has been outstanding in support and mentorship; our Immediate Past President, Dr. Nkem Chukwumerije, has been visionary and exemplary in his leadership, and our outgoing Treasurer, Dr. Charmaine Emelife, has been resourceful in keeping our finances in order.
We have just witnessed the conclusion of the 22nd Annual Scientific Convention & Assembly, featuring well attended CME activities on Delivering Healthcare through a Multidisciplinary Team Approach, done in conjunction with Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA). Leaders of National Association of Nigerian Nurses in North America (NANNNA) were also in attendance. Innumerable thanks to the program committee (Professors Ajovi Scott-Emuakpor and Benedict Nwomeh), ANPA Secretariat (Latisha Dutch and Team), local organizing committee for a great reception, our speakers, distinguished guests, our healthcare partners and ANPA sponsors for their splendid display of support and citizenship.
This organization was founded over 22 years ago through the efforts of Nigerian Physicians with brilliant ideas, gathering together to create a purposeful ‘Vision’ of promoting a “Healthier Nigeria in a Healthier world.”
ANPA Mission of fostering personal and professional growth, promote altruism, professionalism, scholarships, education and camaraderie amongst its members remain strong and vibrant.
Majority of ANPA founding members are still very active and acting as mentors to the vastly growing new members. It’s through our membership pool that individuals are nominated to serve as leaders, forming the core of ANPA executives, committee chairs, chapters’ leaders, board members and other general members at large. Every single member is unique with individual talent that provides the fuel to propel this organization to where we are today.
There are many minority organizations that have created their own platforms to address health care issues, however, ANPA is unique in the fact that there is a common sense of purpose that bring us together. This faith or destiny, allow us to meet, greet, interact, bond, educate, deliberate and develop compelling initiates that have evolved and propelled the ANPA Vision and Mission that we support and carry.
Shortly after its inauguration 22 years ago, we witnessed how ANPA connected the Nigerian universities to the Internet, and over the years, continue to support many health care and philanthropic projects. As a mature organization, ANPA has collaborated with several health care stakeholders and leaders of the Nigerian health systems, worked with other Nigerian organizations in the Diasporas, partnered with national supporters and local sponsors. ANPA rose to support the efforts of Nigeria health systems during the 2015 Ebola disaster epidemic outbreaks.
As demonstrated during the just concluded convention in Las Vegas, we are witnessing the collective efforts of ANPA and its partners on how to better deliver health care practices in Nigeria.
Today, as we begin the next chapter in ANPA history, let me outline what I believe we should focus on over the next few years.
A). ANPA Vision remains strong and our Mission continues to blossom. With our rapidly growing members and changing in health care across the world, we need to continue to expand and broaden our mission. Africa continent, and Nigeria in particular, continues to lag behind in basic life longevity.
Expand and broaden ANPA Mission Statement:
- To improve healthcare morbidity and mortality by providing high quality and compassionate care with dedication to promoting the well-being of the Nigerian population.
- To collaborate with practicing physicians in Nigeria to promote patient safety, advocate and promote ethical duty of care with prudence, in good faith and loyalty, and in a manner that serves the best interest of the Nigerian population.
B). In line with ANPA Mission to identify and encourage development of practical solutions to Nigerian health care problems, I’m proposing the following strategic initiative to stimulate the health care field activities in Nigeria.
This proposal is line with the current National Health Care Scheme with the fundamental goal of better preventing and managing acute and chronic medical or surgical diseases. The basic principle is to assist in effective coordination of all aspects of Nigerian health care sector.
The primary objective is to achieve a substantial reduction in morbidity and mortality of healthcare of the general population across all ages, to generate trust in the Nigeria healthcare sector, and to create a culture of caring so that the general population will have confidence in the quality of healthcare being provided.
- The fundamental provision of healthcare starts with each Local Government (LG)
- LG is the bedrock and nucleus of the local community.
- It provides easy access to the county, the district and forms the grass root of the society.
- Provision of basic health starts here.
- By electing a LG Health Superintendent, a local health Tsar per see, an overseer of the local health management can be created.
2. Every LG should be linked to Local Clinics (LC)
- This will link local people to local clinics.
3. Every LG and LC should be linked to a Local Hospitals (LH)
This is to provide an effective community health care delivery.
4. LG, LC, LH should be linked to LOCAL DOCTORS (LD)
This is to provide effective community health link to providers.
5. LG, LC, LH, LD should be linked to LOCAL MEDICARE HOMES (LMH) LMH is an intrinsic community care that should be staffed with dedicated RNs, LVNs, Social Services, Allied Health and Ancillary Services.
8. #7 should be linked to each STATE AND the FEDERAL
Sustainable health care services in all regions allow coordination of all parties, enhance resource allocations and funding from private, public, states and federal institutions. Collaboration will enable development of relevant strategic algorithms for education, research, easy data collection and events monitoring. This in turn will allow for effective implementation of policies, procedures, and accountability with eventual duplication of successes and best practices across the country.
The ultimate goals of ANPA Field Activities with our Health Care Stakeholders are to:
- Promote National Strategic Planning with everyone working together including local government agencies, clinics, private and public hospitals, returning Diasporas, Nigeria Medical and Dental Associations, Federal Ministry of Health, former and current state health commissioners and heath ministers.
- Advocate and display national workshops to formulate and update policies.
- Advocate in assigning health care managers to improve awareness, safety, quality, and performance.
- Work with existing infrastructures to make them better and meet industrial standards.
- Advocate for adequate funding and resources to ensure successful implementation.
- This must be done with openness and ability to pursue innovations that are carefully constructed with achievable policies.
As we partner, collaborate and move forward, every single one of us can find a way to fit in, whether you are on a mission, visiting, teaching, working or volunteering. This is a summation of parts, which if carefully nurtured and maintained, will work well together to create a substantial health care impact that can improve morbidity and mortality.
C). ANPA 20th CENTURY and MILLENUEM GOALS
- ANPA DISEASE INTERVENTION and PREVENTION TEAM (ADIPT)
Over the last 22 years, ANPA has primarily focused on Medical Missions, largely involving our surgical teams. While this will continue to be the bread and butter of our overseas missions, emerging disease epidemics and global explosion of other chronic illnesses have created a situation that requires medical personnel standby that must be ready to act and assist when called upon.
- ADIPT is a parallel and collaborative arm of ANPA Medical Mission that is composed of members, volunteers and retirees devoted to disease intervention and prevention.
- It’s a standby rapid response medical team that will engage in disease education and prevention to minimize impact of emerging global infectious disease epidemics and chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, childhood immunizations, polio, cholera, community sanitation, kidney disease, maternal and child care, dental hygiene, mental illness and automobile accidents. Preventable and curable surgical conditions are equally important and will be equally attended.
- Missions will be provided in the context of physical presence, telemedicine and advisory roles.
- Members will engage local governments and community leaders in caring for population health.
- Participate in Town hall meetings and health fairs promotions during visitations.
- Continue to advice and collaborate with Nigerian medical schools on community education curriculum, rotations and deployment of national youth service corps to serve in disease prevention programs.
- Chairperson to recruit volunteers and work with chairs of ANPA advocacy and consultancy committees Team representation from multiple specialties, chapter chairs and committee chairs will form the core.
- Yearly activities will be added to ANPA Week (Medical Mission/CPD/Healthcare Advocacy) in Nigeria in collaboration with FMOH, NMA, MDCN, NUC, Junior Chambers International (JCI), public and private partners.
- Earmarked Budget and Grants will be devoted strictly for relevant overseas travel during important missions.
This is a powerful tool to mitigate health morbidity and mortality
- Nigeria Cardiovascular Care of Excellence (NCCE) ANPA will continue to promote and advocate for a collaborative efforts amongst all healthcare stake holders in Nigeria to ensure availability of adequate primary and specialty care providers with excellent tertiary care centers. Availability of dedicated specialty clinicians with top technical skills can minimize the drive for Nigerians to seek healthcare abroad. It’s ANPA goal to continue to work towards this endeavor.
- Organize Specialty Missions with aim to develop Nigeria Cardiovascular Care of Excellence.
- Partner with existing programs in U.S. to visit and provide logistics as well as technical skills on the latest and greatest cardiac interventions to improve cardiac care in Nigeria.
- Providing educational links to excellent management of chronic cardiovascular killers such as myocardial infarctions, arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, stroke, diabetes and hypertension
- The ultimately goal is to provide a substantial reduction in morbidity and mortality
- To this end, ANPA will be assembling a team of cardiac surgeons and cardiologists to make a site visit to our partners in Nigeria, provide recommendations and see what can be done.
- ANPA Affiliated Physician Center of Excellence and Training Hospital (AAPCETH)
Institutions that provide exceptional goals for patient and public safety with outstanding clinical care will be recognized by ANPA. Designation centers in any of Nigeria six geopolitical zones meeting the following criteria can be eligible for award.
- A center demonstrating adequate medical staffing and equipped with state of the art imaging and medically advanced operating tools.
- Disaster ready with ability to handle high level trauma and causalities.
- A telemedicine and receiver center for complex cases with digital link to the best medical specialists.
- Willingness to assist in data collection and reach out to other centers.
- Receptive to suggestions regarding upgrade and maintenances.
- Willingness to educate and train in the arts of modern medicine, promote patient safety, culture of caring and ethical duty of care.
- Recognized as meeting federal, states, local governments and other applicable health care standards by designated accrediting authorities.
D). ANPA Affairs in the Americas
- In the last 2 years, ANPA has seen the development of more new chapters and still growing. To make sure existing and new chapters stay vibrant, active, and robust and get the help they need, I intend to work with ANPA Executives, ANPA Board and Committees chairs to implement the following:
- Standardize health care screening at all chapter levels.
- Standardize best activities at all chapter levels so events can be easier to perform by up and coming chapters.
- Provide assistance and guide on benefits of community events and national activities.
- Work with IT so that chapter member can link with sponsors and create printable online materials for educational activities.
2). In line with ANPA mission to foster personal and professional growth, ANPA chapters will continue to emphasize health care prevention as a powerful tool to mitigate the development of chronic diseases in our communities.
ANPA will continue to promote health care prevention at all chapter levels with emphasis on the following:
- Hepatitis B mission-tools to screen community and immigrants will be available and universal at all chapters.
- Malaria walk-annual education to promote awareness on treatment and prevention.
- Breast cancer screening.
- Prostate screening.
- Blood pressure screwing.
- Diabetes screening.
- Colon cancer screening.
- Smoking cessation education.
- Stroke education and prevention.
- Heart Attack prevention with education on BLS.
- Annual health screening for members.
3). Model of Excellence Website for Education
- ANPA website should be a model for education on tropical diseases.
- Just like Mayo clinic and Web MD, people should be able to visit Anpa.org and get information on travel medicine, or tropical diseases such as Malaria, Ebola, Polio, Dengue Fever, Cholera, Botulism, Lasa Fever, Yellow Fever, Zika Virus and other relevant emerging disease outbreaks.
- This will make it easy for any of our members to advice and visit.
- In addition to our annual scientific education, members and visitors should have links to CDC, WHO, and other important health care advisory sites.
4). ANPA FOUNDATION
- Charitable financial events to support ANPA programs and missions.
- Organize national fund raising events to support ANPA educational efforts.
- Independent consulting agent will work with fund raising committee to liaise with charitable business enterprise and promote corporate sponsorships for ANPA.
- Continue to support DNPT (Distinguished Nigerian Physicians of Tomorrow) and encourage active participation of its members in ANPA affairs.
- Formation of task force in offering advice and assistance to ECFMG/USMLE graduating students in transition to residency.
ACHIEVABLE and DOABLE
If we can bridge the gap in telephone communications from a few homes containing barely audible phone lines, with a digital age of wireless technology, that now allows nearly everyone in Africa to have a cell phone and enjoy the boundless limits of social media, cloud computing and internet interactions, then the vacuum in our health care gaps could not only be filled but achieved with the right efforts and collaborations.
- Yes, everything that will be built, has already been built. We just have to look and let’s look for solutions.
In conclusion, I appeal to every member to continue that burning desire to make a difference in the life of others. I ask that you continue to come, give, obtain more educational knowledge, debate, deliberate, and provide a stellar model for the future generations of ANPA members and leaders.
Our collective ideas, visions and missions should have no boundaries or limitations. We must continue to explore and reach out for the best in our dreams to assist Nigeria in bringing the gap of the cutting edge in medical and health care innovations.
Johnson Adeyanju, MD, FACP, Author
CME Co-Chair, John Muir Health
Physician Site Lead, John Muir Medical Group