U.S. group inducts Nigerian, three non-Africans into medical mission hall of fame

Dr. Abali Chukwu

Dr. Abali Chukwu

THE professional competence of Nigerians in their fields and their good services to mankind have again been recognised and lauded internationally along with foreigners.

In this regard, the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Center (FMC), Umuahia, Abia State Dr. Abali Chukwu  was on Saturday April 18, 2015 inducted along with three other non Africans  into the 2015 Medical Mission Hall of Fame  ( MMHOF ) by the Board of Trustees at The University of Toledo in Ohio USA.

The three other inductees were  Dr. Paul  R. Williams -an American Medical Doctor, Dr. Alfredo Casino-a  Philippine Medical Doctor and  Dr. Clinton Longenecker- a Business Educator/professor of Leadership and Organisational Excellence in the Toledo University College of Business and Innovation.

The Hall of Fame Foundation was created/founded in year 2004 by Dr. Lawrence V. Conway , a  University of Toledo professor emeritus of Finance,  “ to honour, through an annual public awards ceremony, those individuals and or organizations that have made significant and substantial contributions to advancing the quality of life of their brothers and sisters through out the world”.

About 47 persons  and a  corporate group, ‘ Doctors Without Borders,’  in Paris, France have  so far been inducted into the MMHF including the founder/president, Dr Lawrence V. Conway. Out of the 47, Dr Abali Chuku of Nigeria is the first and only African.

The  Board of Trustees of the MMHOF has designated  all the  Inductees as  “ Distinguished Global Faculty Members of The University of Toledo  Ohio Health Science Campus.”

According to Conway, it is  fitting and appropriate that such people or organisations be recognised for their noble humanitarian efforts even as it is additionally hoped that these commendatory efforts will serve as an inspiration to others to actively participate in, or support medical mission activities and programmes.

He said that there are several types of Medical Mission Hall of Fame Awards: individual and organisational and that the award recipients are selected by  the MMHF Selection Committee based on extensive and deliberate reviews of the endeavors and accomplishments of individuals and organisations in the medical mission field.

To facilitate the mission of the Foundation, he said that  a distribution facility has been created to provide , at no cost to potential recipients, hospital/medical equipment and medical supplies to any organisation or group committed to improving the human condition by providing urgently needed health care services.

According to the  citations on the four Inductees,  Dr. Longenecker is a global award-winning business educator who was recently described by career publications as one of “ America’s very best executive educators, and the recipient of over 50 outstanding teaching, research and service awards during his illustrious academic career.

Dr. Casino, a Philipino born in 1933 is a general surgeon that personifies one of the primary purposes of the MMHF to inspire qualified public health personnel to follow in the footsteps of their distinguished predecessors. He was honored for his “ significant contributions to the medical well-being of his fellow men, the Medical Mission Hall of Fame”.

For Dr Paul Williams who has been involved in numerous full time missions since 1984 and was the founding director of HealthCare Ministries of the Assembles of God World Missions from 1984 to 1994, he uses his medical skills and compassionate ministries  as a way to express his humanitarian love for his fellow man.

In the case of  the 53 year old Nigerian  Dr. Abali Chuku  who has  since 2011, been the Medical Director of  the Federal Medical Center  Umuahia – a 327 bed hospital  with 1,600 staff , 358 of which are doctors comprising 76 Consultants  who specialized in over fifteen ( 15 ) disciplines.” He is the first African and Nigerian to be honored by the Medical Mission Hall of Fame.

Accrding to the citation read on him  at the award giving day ,  although Dr. Chukwu had his primary and secondary education in London, he returned to Nigeria where he graduated with a Medical Degree  from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and thereafter continued his medical training with a fellowship at West African College of Surgeons and Post Graduate education at the Medical College of Nigeria.

“ After serving in various high level capacities at the FMC Umuahia, Dr. Chukwu was appointed Head of Ophthalmology  in 1996 and Medical Director in 2011 in which position he made it his goal to transform the FMC into a Center of Excellence”.

Dr. Chukwu’s numerous accomplishments had attracted the attention of Nigeria Health Minister, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who commended him during his visit to the FMC for “ a good job done well” remarking that  “ a visionary always strives to achieve the best”.

According to Prof.  Chukwu, the immediate past Nigeria’s Health Minister “ Dr Chuku is innovative. He works hard to be ahead in any competition. He is one of our best, his staff here are co-operating with him, you know that when you are doing the right thing, people will naturally follow you. The FMC Umuahia hospital will remain a lasting testimonial to the good work of a man with a sagacious mind and penetrating vision”.

Also, a 2005 Medical  Mission Hall of Fame  Inductee Dr  Gleen Geelhoed  described Dr Chuku as “ an excellent role model for those who are privileged to walk in his footsteps, and he epitomises what the Medical Mission Of Fame is all about, he has devoted his entire life to improving the availability of medical services to the undeserved people in our world”.

According to him, “the Medical Mission Hall of Fame is honored to recognise the good work of Dr. Chukwu, a missionary devoted to the people of Nigeria, his native land”.

Speaking at the induction ceremony held at Howard L. Collier Building of the Health Science Campus of The University of Toledo, Dr. Abali Chuku  who expressed appreciation for the Award, congratulated his co inductees, saying that his job as medical director of the FMC Umuahia which is one of Nigeria’s 57 tertiary health facilities, provided him an opportunity  that was fortunately preceded by a vision that however could be threatened by what he called a culture of corruption.

He said that Nigeria’s economy and every aspect of life in it, suffer under the effect of corruption hence “institutions and parastatals funded by government, are extremely difficult to run and can be a most frustrating environment to execute a vision”.

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