29th June, 2012
Dr. (Mrs.) Ada Ekwueme-Onuora, medical doctor and Executive Director/Initiator, KALVAC Human Development Initiative, a non-government organisation, spoke with AYODEJI DEDEIGBO about the launching and fund raising by her NGO to facilitate a nationwide free screening for hypertension and diabetes project.
How do you feel having successfully executed the launching/fund raising to support your NGO’s nationwide free screening for hypertension and diabetes project?
I must thank God. At first, it was so daunting and I thank God because I consistently believe in him and all went well, the end justifies the means.
Tell us about the NGO…
The NGO is called KALVAC; it is a human development initiative. Actually it was born out of a medical clinic. The clinic then was KALVAC clinic, it was purely medical, I was seeing only sick people. I travelled abroad sometime ago and when I got to Canada, I did some publications; I saw how they organised their welfare services and when I came back, I organised people of like minds and told them that the clinic alone is a limitation. Limited to only sick people. People are sick in so many ways, financially, morally, physically and psychologically. It’s only an NGO that can capture all these and that was how KALVAC initiative was born in 2010.
Then, I went back to Canada and came back fully and we took off by contacting people of like minds. We have three focused areas of health care. You see what happened today, we have a section where they are doing screening for diabetes and blood pressure, we do skill acquisition, we teach men and women how to make soap, bags and other things. It does not necessarily need to be white collar jobs, and many of them have success stories to tell. Also, people are being educated on diseases like HIV, good living and so on.
What does KALVAC stand for?
It was born when I finished medical school and started my private clinic; it is a coined acronym from the name of my children and my late husband.When we are operating the clinic, we still visit orphanages.
For how long has this NGO been in existence?
I will say since I started my clinic, even though it was not an NGO but we still reached out to orphanages and that was 1986, 1987 before I travelled, but the NGO was established in 2010.
Will you say the aim of this NGO has been achieved?
Yes, because we have been able to put smiles on so many faces. You can see all the children from the orphanages, they are all here and have things to take home; you can also see the widows. Many rich people are empathetic and they have pledged to support this organisation because they believe in our cause.
After today’s event what is the next line of action?
This is when the work starts; that’s OVC, Orphans and Vulnerable Children; we are already adopting one or two families there and we will follow them up from now on. We don’t have a centre yet and that is our medium term project. We will like the executive governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola to come to our aid, since we are in Lagos, to have a centre so that we can feed them there. We also intend to move all over the federation.
Tell us more about the vision, the mission and what the NGO has done in the past?
Kalvac Human Development Initiative (KHDI) is a registered, community-based, non-government organisation. It was created due to a passion for holistic grassroots service delivery to address the underlying causes of underdevelopment in Nigeria, especially in the areas of healthcare, lack of basic physiological needs (welfare) and education. KHDI is an expanded ideology of a medical doctor who viewed the clinic as a limitation in covering the mass populace in our outreach programmes.
Our mission is to empower people (children, youths, women and men inclusive) to reach their life potential by building and implementing innovative and sustainable mechanisms for improved quality of life. Our three focus areas are healthcare, education/ skills acquisition and welfare/humanity.
Our vision is to make the impact felt; excel beyond expectations and Walk the Talk. That is why we refer to ourselves as: EXCELLENT.
•Our immediate, medium and long- term goals include:
National outreach to the grassroots through visitation at their places of work and abode to educate, screen and counsel, with referrals when necessary; and to donate goods.
•Acquisition of a space for coordinated health and social welfare care centre for the aforementioned.
•Diversification to all the States of the Federation.
KHDI, though young, can boast of quite a number of humanitarian activities since inception. These include:
1. April 2011: Health education session for the women wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Lagos State.
2.September 2011: Donation of food items, detergents, confectioneries etc to the Oko-Baba settlement at Ebute Meta, Lagos.
3.October 2011: Skills acquisition for men and women on soap- making, custard and nylon craft.
4. December 2011: KHDI had a Christmas party with the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).
5.Feb. 2012: Advocacy session at Orile Iganmu Lagos on drugs usage
6. March 2012: Advocacy session on hypertension and diabetes at NEPAD, Abuja.
Most people “drop dead” because they do not know their blood pressure or blood sugar levels. This is due to lack of knowledge/ awareness or to the simple fact of “I HAVE NO TIME”. KHDI will meet people at their work places for screening.
There is no doubt that there are many rich and privileged people among us who would like to reach out and share their good fortune with the less privileged but do not know how. Kalvac Human Development Initiative (KHDI) is here, (like many other trustworthy NGOs no doubt) to act as a conduit to ensure that your benevolence reaches the poor people it is meant for.