- His Excellency, Prof. Adefuye, Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States represented by H. O. Balogun;
- Consul-General of Nigeria, New York, Ambassador Habib Habu;
- President of the Nigeria Diaspora Diagnostic and Trauma Foundation;
- Chairs and members of the Committees of Foundation;
- Invited Guests;
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
2. In August 2013, the Nigerian in Diaspora Organization in the Americas, Atlanta branch, in joint partnership with the Consulate-Generalof Nigeria, Atlanta, convened a conference on Diaspora Investment and the establishment of a Trauma Center, as a result of the needless and preventable deaths of our people in Nigeria that sometimes occur.
3. In December of the same year, the idea was sold to the Prof. Nat Njoku’s led Nigerian Community Organization and the Association of Nigerian Physician in the Americas (ANPA), in Charlotte led at that time by Dr. Michael Etomi and with its local chapter led by Dr. Phillip Igbeniadolor. Fortunately, the idea was enthusiastically received but with the caveat to give Diagnosis the primacy of place in the programme.
4. Subsequently, in March 2014, the Consulate in Atlanta, initiated and sponsored the maiden meeting of the programme and the idea of a Diagnostic and Trauma Center was born. Ever since, the Consulate has also sponsored all its other eight Stakeholders meetings at a cost of over US $24,000.00 besides other expenses. I am delighted to pledge that the Consulate would sustain its support to this programme and give every encouragement to the realization of its dreams and aspirations.
5. I commend His Excellency, the Ambassador of Nigeria to the United States, Professor Ade Adefuye, ably represented by H. O Balogun officer in charge of Consular matters and Nigerian Affairs, for being part of this vision. I also speciallycommend my good friend and brother, Ambassador Habib Habu for his total commitment, dedication and strong support for the initiative.
6. The commitment of the Nigerian Diplomatic Missions to this project is without question. Sadly, in the comity of Nations, Nigerian healthcare statistics appear not encouraging. The average Nigeria life expectancy is only 57 years; infant mortality is 74.09 deaths to 1,000 live births; maternal mortality is 630 deaths to 100,000 live births; accident rate is 33.7 deaths per 100,000 and diseases such as malaria, typhoid, river blindness, polio, cholera, among others are prevalent, although all is not gloom as government defeated the Ebola scourge, guinea worm has been eradicated and polio, nearly so.
7. Nevertheless, many preventable deaths are still commonplace. It is therefore, advisable to raise the bar of our healthcare system in Nigeria to save lives. For a population of about 175 million people, the available healthcare facilities, to say the least, are not only grossly inadequate but also to a large extent not very high for specialized care going by international standards.
8. As a result, Nigerians seek specialized medical attention from many other parts of the world, spending over one billion dollars a year. Yet our physicians are some of the best in the world serving other entities, jurisdictions and countries from the United Kingdom to the United States, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, among others.
9. For this reason, there is a need for the estimated 11 (eleven) -12 million Nigerian Diaspora population from every part of the world to come together and put forth a befitting first class facility in their name as a monument of their contribution to the healthcare delivery system of their dear fatherland. We definitely would not solve all the healthcare problems of Nigeria but, together we can certainly make a difference as little drops of water make the mighty ocean.
10. I thank the Founding Fathers and Mothers of this programme for their dedication, financial contributions and invaluable time committed to this project,(could they rise for recognition please). I also thank the President of the Foundation, Chairs and members of the functional Committees, namely:
i. the Committee of the Whole;
ii. mobilization and publicity committee;
iii. finance and accounts Committee;
iv. design/technical Committee; and
v. medical/allied services committee for their times.
11. My gratitude also goes to the Planning Committee of this event for their invaluable time and dedication. Your reward will be here on earth.
12. However, I want to point out that the founding principle of openness of operations of this programme and collective ownership should continue to be the guiding principles because any deviation from it and towards exclusivity could spell disaster and scare people away. Please invite friends, relations and partners to be part of the vision. The membership of every committee and sub-committee should remain wide open at all times to everybody that wants to serve. It is an all comers affairs.
13. I wish to welcome every one present here especially those of you who have come from far and near- from Nigeria and other States in the United States to attend this event. We appreciate your time and your contributions to the realization of the programme.
14. I hope you all will find time to explore Atlanta and savour the famous southern hospitality with which Atlanta has come to be known and identified. But more importantly, I urge you all to please open your purse strings in the evening and donate generously to this worthy cause for the benefit of Nigeria.
15. Thank you for your kind attention.