I am Ignacio Valdes, MD, a psychiatrist with a practice in Houston, Texas. I am acquainted with the urgent need for providing psychological care and psychiatric treatment for the poor of Nigeria, as a result of my practice here in Houston. I volunteered to assist Fr John with this important – difficult – effort, to build a Western style hospital, to be called the Catholic League Medical and Mental Health Hospital at Okoti-Odekpe, Anambra State, Nigeria. I urge you to go to the “Learning Corner” tab of this website. We have posted some of the many expert papers which describe long-standing mental health and medical healthcare problems that today continue to challenge Nigerian physicians and psychiatrists, as well as those periodic, well-meaning, doctors to travel to Nigeria from their homes in Western countries.
The major cities in Nigeria do have a small number of well-equipped, modern, hospitals. Sadly, none can be found in rural areas serving the extremely poor. The Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha has two specialist hospitals and a nursing school, but those are overwhelmed with the sheer number of cases. And psychiatric healthcare specialists are only a few in southeastern Nigeria. Commentators have remarked that not only patients, but highly qualified Nigerian physicians and psychiatrists prefer to leave their native country, preferring to receive and provide medical care in nations having better hospitals, equipment, and support facilities.
This unfortunate situation CAN be reversed, at least for the rural poor, if you help to make Fr. John’s vision a reality. Please take the time to review the articles, photos, and videos, to understand our project. Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.