President Goodluck Jonathan delivered his speech at the opening of AIHWA Hope Center clinic.
Special guests at the Opening Ceremonies
The American Initiative for Health and Wellness in Africa (AIHWA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was founded in the United States. Its original goal was to provide mental health care to millions of Nigerians who only had access to one psychiatrist for every million people. In 2016, AIHWA delegates visited the Transcorp Hilton Abuja in Nigeria to hold a conference with the heads of various health departments, including the honorable minister of Health. The purpose of the conference was to determine the best approach to mental illness in Nigeria without further stigmatizing patients. The team realized that successful implementation of mental health care would require an integrated medical approach since people might have a fear of stigmatization in an exclusive mental health facility. It was decided that an integrated medical clinic would be established at the aihwa Hope Center, near Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport Owerri, which would gradually introduce mental and behavioral health services to patients. The first phase of this center was commissioned on the 8th of March 2021 by the former president of Nigeria, Dr Ebele Goodluck Jonathan as the first integrated medical clinic in Nigeria. On the 4th of January 2023 the second phase of the clinic building project was commissioned. AIHWA works to improve healthcare in Africa through its special areas of interest:
1. The Patient Prisoner Program. This refers to a situation in which poor patients are detained in African hospitals because they cannot afford to pay their medical bills. AIHWA has partnered with several local hospitals to provide advocacy, financial support, and assistance in releasing these patients from captivity.
2. Medical Missions. We bring both locally and internationally trained physicians, along with mental health and social work counselors, to Africa to provide quality integrated healthcare services for both short-term and long-term periods. Our missions have made a positive impact on over 8,000 people in Africa since 2017.
3. Counseling/Mental Health. This area of healthcare in Africa has a significant disparity between service demand and supply. AIHWA's objectives culminated in establishing a behavioral and counseling department at the AIHWA Hope Center in Nigeria.
4. AIHWA Vision Care in the African Region, approximately 26.3 million individuals suffer from some form of visual impairment, with 20.4 million experiencing low vision and 5.9 million estimated to be completely blind. A staggering 15.3% of the world's blind population is in Africa, where poverty is a major barrier to accessing quality care. The AIHWA's medical clinic has identified several major eye conditions among patients, including cataracts, glaucoma, uncorrected refractive errors, age-related macular degeneration, corneal opacities, diabetic retinopathy, trachoma, and onchocerciasis. To address these issues, AIHWA has taken a significant step by establishing aihwa Vision Care at the aihwa medical clinic in Nigeria. The aihwa Vision Care operates a complete eye clinic with various eye care specialists.