The rural medical outreaches (village outreaches) has been a very essential part of the missions aspect of NCCMDS. As a matter of fact, in the past two decades and a half, the various chapters of NCCMDS have together invaded numerous rural and unreached settlements in various parts of Nigeria, with the loving hands of our God and saviour Jesus Christ. NCCMDS has even carried the vision beyond the shore of our nation Nigeria and has visited villages in nearby Niger republic. [it is estimated that most schools in NCCMDS on the average embark on 3 rural outreaches each year.
Typically, these communities visited during rural outreaches are usually backward in the context of the Nigerian civilization, i.e. no motorable roads, electric power supply, pipe borne water supply, health centres, primary health care facilities, churches, good schools with qualified teachers, etc. Indeed no proof of the government presence. According to the United Nations, most Nigerians families are rural dwellers and live below $(one year) per day. Unfortunately, it is an intersection of the above 2 sets that are found in these interior unreached settlements
These poor people with little or no formal education have their lives shaped by the cultural and traditional beliefs and practices prevalent in their environments. For example, some villages still consider medicinal, the disposal of sewage and faeces into running water therefore deriving their drinking water from a larger river downstream. Also, some of their traditional birth attendants use “cow dung” for the healing of the umbilical wound in the new born. Ignorance predisposes them to a lot of diseases (epidemics) and the morbidity that occurs as a result further precipitates poverty, setting up the vicious circle of ignorance, poverty and diseases amongst the vulnerable member of the society.
Rural to urban migration adds another twist to the tale in that the able bodied youthful age group leave their villages in search of greener pastures in the cities, leaving behind the elderly, the children and the women. And these vulnerable members of the society fall prey to the prevailing circumstances in the village. NCCMDS ministers to these people mentioned above in the various rural outreaches. Moreover, owing to the complex interplay of the above factors, NCCMDS village outreaches have completely metermophosized in the past 25 years of our existence and have continually been improved to meet the needs of the particular people it targets.
Recently, the new parading is an all encompassing holistic approach to the needs of the villages.
- We preach Christ to them for the redemption of their souls
- We also bring to the door steps of these financially incapacitated people the best of tertiary health care services at absolutely no cost at all in order to care for their body needs.
- The newly included paediatrics and welfare aspects also help to meet these specific needs
- Finally and very importantly, we run a public health enlightenment campaign which aim at educating and empowering these people.
From the foregoing therefore, the concept of the epidemiological report from doing the village/rural medical outreach becomes an indispensible tool for adequate monitoring and evaluation of our efficiency. Also it helps us both to assess our coverage of our Nation Nigeria and to improve on future outreaches. It is estimated that each chapter in NCCMDS embarks on at least 3 rural outreaches in a year. Projecting into the next ten years should be about eight hundred and ten more outreaches and having such a document for each of those outreaches already gives us a voice. Apart from being a dependable data base, kit will also be of immense help to the government ministries and parastatals. In the short run also, the process will help our members appreciate research from a community health perspective.
It was against this backdrop that the National Academic Department decided the first CEC in UDUTH Sokoto that the epidemiological reports should be part and parcel of NCCMDS missions. It helps us take a closer look at our villages.
The Epidemiological Report features the following:
FORMAT FOR REPORTING EPIDEMIOLOGICAL STUDIES
- Cover page
- Brief demographic features of villages
- Number of villages
- Estimate of population
- Occupational patterns
- Religious inclination
- Cultural practices as well as infrastructural and health amenities and their effects on epidemiological pattern of diseases
- Details of clinic sessions
- Date of clinic
- Number of doctors/students
- Number, age, and geographical distribution of patients seen (in a tabulated form)
- Frequency of clinical diagnosis
- Health interventions, cultural modifications or discussions sessions held on primary health care during the missions.
- Recommendations on basic health intervention strategies for the locality.
- Important points of interest to NCCMDS and the church at large
- Number and names of academic board members that participated in the research
- Academic secretary’s signature
In order to fully maximize the advantages and opportunities afforded us by epidemiological reports, all hands must be on deck to pursue it to the letter. Because we believe that no one truly covers Nigeria better than NCCMDS
Dr Chukwuebuka Ugwu