Dr Dako Mamudu was born in Iyerekhu, South Ibie in Edo State of Nigeria in the late 1950s. This is a rural community where essential amenities were either absent or in poor state. As a child, he combined school with farming and hunting with his father. This was not an uncommon thing to do among most children of his age at that time in this agrarian rural community.
The primary school in the community was one of the few buildings roofed with corrugated iron sheets as most of the buildings were roofed with raffia palms sheets. Daily routine for him was to wake up about 5.00 am in the morning, rush to fetch water from the stream which was about five Kilometers away, get home early enough to do the house chores and prepare for school. School lasted from 8.00 am -2.00 pm after which he would either go to the farm to join his parents or go with some of his peers to cut palm nuts. During the holidays and some weekends, it was not unusual for him to accompany his father on a hunting expedition to the forests in communities that were more rural than their own. It was fun having this routine as they did not know there was life more rewarding and entertaining. The rural people respected his family as they were seen as successful farmers and great hunters.
The teachers in this school were even less exposed than the average illiterate uninformed parents. They never encouraged their pupils to progress beyond primary education and so progressing beyond this level was rare.
Human waste was openly disposed as only a few homes had pit latrine. Drinking water was obtained from an openly polluted stream and about half a dozen of shallow wells. There was no health facility. Wounds were cleaned with warm water and penicillin powder spread on them. There were a few untrained "dispensers" who injected multiple people with the same needle and syringe; thank God HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis infections were not endemic to the region at the time. The nearest dispensary was about five Kilometers away at Ibienafe and the road was torturous and narrow and people had to trek there when necessary because bicycles were few in the community and motorcycles and vehicles were not available. There was no electricity!
Our cover picture taken in a "rural urban" community in Lagos shows what rural life is like. In this " Urban rural" community, you can see a solid wall separating the affluent city community from the rural slums. The wooden dangerous bridge to this community speaks volumes. Wares, including food are openly displayed and a family unit which often includes a man with two or more wives and many children lives and sleeps in a one room apartment. People defecate into the canal in front of the "supermarket and their drinking water is from a shallow well.
More than forty years after he left the village to urban areas for higher education and to work, his visits to rural communities in both remote areas and urban areas showed that things have not changed! While social services, education and healthcare are improving at a geometric ratio in the cities, they are either not available in rural communities or are in a very sorry state. The authorities, usually in the cities, do not care much about these people because they are not directly affected. They only remember them during elections. Personnel are not willing to work and/or live in these communities because of the absence of social amenities.
He also observed that the poorer or more disorganized a central government is, the poorer it's rural community. National economic depressions have greater negative impacts on our rural communities.
Dako Foundation for Rural Healthcare and Education started its activities in 2008 to address these imbalances in the societies through advocacy, empowerment and direct intervention in health and education services.
It works to draw the attention of governments at all levels to the plight of the rural populace through its activities. They also work to draw the attention to the international community, world health bodies and donor agencies to the plight of rural dwellers. Moreover, they also hope to encourage the rural communities through citizen engagements to "own" their social services so that they can improve their quality of life.
Since its inception, the foundation has carried out direct medical interventions in Lagos State ( Water side area of Amuwo Odofin LGA, Tolu LCDA of Ajeromi Ifoelodu LGA); Orlu area of Imo State, (Uburuekwe) and Edo State of Nigeria; (Iyerekhu, Ibienafe, Anwai communities, Osomegbe and Iviukhua ).
We have treated over 4000 sick people, distributed 150 pieces of water treatment units to the poor, gave out 20 wheelchairs to physically challenged, provided 458 reading glasses to the visually challenged and dewormed over 600 children. We have also provided over 3000 mosquito nets to rural dwellers to protect themselves against mosquito bites and thus avoid malaria infection. Our star patient so far is the 30 months old child who was born with a brain tumor that we sponsored for a major surgery in RAK Hospital in the Emirates.
Dr Dako Mamudu,
Founder/Chief Executive Officer.