Richmond resident Dr. Raymond Chimezie, who has vigorously promoted health education at local schools as well as in Africa, recently held the launch for his new book, Primary Healthcare in Nigeria: Overview, Challenges, and Prospects.
Local residents and academics attended Chimezie’s book presentation Oct. 24 at the Albany Community Center. Chimezie’s book renews awareness about the preventable causes of premature death in Nigeria and aims to redirect the healthcare system to patient-centered care.
“Over the past 15 years, I have lost many family members and relatives to untimely and premature death — including my father, brother, and brother-in-law — due to lack of access to proper healthcare,” Chimezie said.
Chimezie’s book — the outcome of a case study he conducted in Nigeria — offers important insight into the fundamental problems affecting people’s access to primary healthcare services. It not only emphasizes need-based, patient-centered health care, it encourages full utilization of locally available health labor force, recommends strategies for developing better healthcare services, proposes a new funding option for healthcare and warns against the dangers of leaving primary healthcare to Nigeria’s government, which Chimezie described as the weakest and most unorganized tier of the government.
Chimezie warned that Nigeria’s low life expectancy of 53 years is likely to be lower in the next decade with increasing prevalence of chronic health conditions in addition to the continued infectious disease that have plagued African countries.
“This double burden of disease will deal a catastrophic blow to Nigeria if primary healthcare is not developed around patient needs and in response to emerging health problems in the 21st Century,” he says.
In addition to his research, Chimezie has been proactive in improving healthcare access both in Richmond and as well to rural Nigerians. He is the founder of Health for Schools and Communities Foundation, which has gone on health missions in Nigeria and carried out community-school health events at elementary schools in Richmond.
To further spread his ideas and create awareness, Chimezie aims to distribute 20,000 copies of his book for free to libraries and students in Nigeria. He is asking the public to make donations toward this effort at www.healthfsc.org. A donation of $750 will send 50 copies of the book to a library or university of choice and will have the name of the donor inscribed on a page in the book, Chimezie said.