Short Story Competition – ‘Welcome to My World’
As part of our 25th anniversary celebrations we invite entries to our short story competition from adults aged 18-30. We are delighted that the shortlist will be judged by Chibundu Onuzo, the well-known Nigerian novelist (author of The Spider King’s Daughter and Welcome to Lagos). The competition is open from March 13th and will close on June 30th 2017
A glittering awards ceremony will be held in London on Sunday October 1st 2017 – Nigerian Independence Day. See the competition page for more details.
Training in neonatal resuscitation and care
We have just completed two weeks of further training in church hospitals in Abia and Benue States. This year we were keen to evaluate the programme. 39 out of a total of 91 participants had been previously trained and came back for a ‘refresher’ course where their skills were evaluated and some new training provided.
Early in the first week, our evaluations showed that it had proved difficult for staff to retain their skills. In partnership with local training coordinators, we emphasised core resuscitation skills and found ways to ensure that people will be able to practice their skills regularly.
Each day started with singing and we enjoyed an enthusiastic response from participants.
Dr Ogunlaja, Sisters Marcellina and Eunice training at Bethesda Hospital
David Cundall with local training coordinators from Benue and Kaduna
Dr Joseph Onah, the new Medical Director at Bethesda, showing how it's done
Tribute to Grace Mortimer
We were very sorry to hear that Grace died earlier this year in her home town of Chippenham. Grace was a former mission partner in Nigeria and Ghana in the 1970’s, and later became a Trustee of the Nigeria Health Care Project.
Grace, who had trained as a midwife, went to Nigeria in 1970 to supervise the under fives clinic at Kiaima, where she had a home, and other nearby village clinics and health centres in New Bussa and Wawa in the west of the country. She served in a peasant farming community which was mainly Muslim, with a small Christian community. She was a breath of fresh air to the medical work, with a deep love for the local people and a highly professional approach to their considerable and varied needs.
The Revd Ronald Wylie and his wife, Anne, who served in the same area at this time, described her as an enthusiastic and committed mission partner, a dependable colleague and a trusty friend. They all later were transferred to the middle belt of Nigeria, Benue State, where Grace established a new clinic at Ogoli, Ugboju, now one of the Projects supported by the NHCP.
On returning home Grace resumed her career as a midwife, married Robin, and became a local preacher and an organist in the Wiltshire Methodist/ URC circuit.
Grace later became one of the early members of the Nigeria Health Care Project and accompanied the visiting team on three occasions. She was thrilled that she was able to see, once again, all the clinics at which she had previously worked, and found people there who still remembered her. At this time Grace was the only one of us with a professional medical qualification and she was able to make a thorough assessment of the quality of the work being done in the various clinics, and of course give advice based on her previous experience in Nigeria.
We thank God for Grace, and her commitment to the life and mission of the Church at home and abroad.
Our Silver Year
When Peter Grubb and the Revd John Pritchard launched the Project in 1992 they could not have imagined just how much has been achieved in 25 years. In the early days, NHCP played a key role in galvanising interest and focusing support for health care in Nigeria from Wesley Guilds in the UK. By October 2017 we anticipate that over £1.5m will have been raised from all sources, a remarkable achievement.
During this quarter century the world has moved on. We are in an equal partnership with Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN) and are blessed with excellent working relationships with the MCN Health Secretary Deaconess Ronke Oworu. Mobile phones and e-mail mean that we can communicate so much more quickly and easily with our friends in Nigeria.
More recently we have been able to offer training of health workers in Nigeria – with volunteer training facilitators in Nigeria working hand in hand with colleagues from the UK.
In 2017 we hope to further develop the curriculum in newborn care with our friends in Abia State and train more trainers in Benue State.
We will have lots to tell you about as the year unfolds – see below for some more highlights.
Trustees visit 2017
A small group of trustees are gearing up to visit the places we support during February and March this year. It is important for trustees to see for themselves how donations have been spent, exciting to see the progress that has been made in many centres and encouraging to witness the dedication of so many hard-working local staff. Our friends in Nigeria have so many inspiring stories to share.
Trustees now visit every three years, which saves money and helps to ensure that less than 5% of the funds we raise is spent on core costs
Association of Friends
NHCP has an Association of Friends who give money regularly to ensure that salaries of essential staff in Nigeria continue to be paid.
One of the people we support is Esther Yakubu, a nurse midwife at Galadima Health Centre in Kaduna State. Here she is training others.
We currently have 90 members of the Association of Friends. Our target of reaching 120 has been extended to June 2016. If you are interested in becoming a Friend please contact Jenny Benfield: Tel: 01284 702157 e-mail email@example.com
An Association of Friends leaflet is available.