Asheville and Raleigh Sister Cities Gain International Connection

Sister City's delegate from NC forms an intenational partnership to help women's Clinic in Osogbo, Nigeria.

Sister City’s delegate from NC forms an intenational partnership to help women’s Clinic in Osogbo, Nigeria.

Delegates from NC form an intenational partnership to help the Women’s Clinic in Osogbo, Nigeria.

Once again, Asheville is engaged in helping our African Sister City in Osogbo, Nigeria.  Using grant money from Sister Cities International, delegates are working with Raleigh, NC, Xiangyang, China, and Osogbo Nigeria to repair a maternity clinic in Osogbo, and bring the clinic up to World Health Organization standards.

To accomplish this task, three representatives from Asheville attended a conference in Nairobi, Kenya to create a partnership with the four sister cities, and come to an agreement between all parties on the best way to accomplish the goal of establishing a WHO standard clinic in Osogbo.

Prior to the conference, Brit L. Castañeda and Wallace Bohanan visited Osogbo to see the clinic. At the conference, Brit and Wallace met up with Valeria Watson-Doost, the Chairperson of the Asheville/Osogbo Sister City partnership.  The six person delegation from Osogbo, Nigeria consisted of three doctors, two teachers, and a construction contractor.

The two person delegation from Raleigh consisted of a couple who ran a development company. The delegation from Xiangyang, China consisted of four government representatives, including Xiangyang’s Director of Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau.  Together we forged a partnership that had never been attempted before with Sister Cities Organizations.

The visit was an eye-opener for Americans used to health facilities in the USA.  The building was unpainted and dimly lit.  The delivery room was small, and the delivery table was no more than a padded platform with a headrest.  There was not much equipment, no running water in the clinic, so doctors and midwives had to have an assistant pour water over their hands (the water was obtained from a well outside the clinic) as they delivered babies, and there were issues with sanitation.

The room where mothers and babies stayed post-delivery were undecorated, and the beds were merely platforms with foam rubber mattress on them. Despite appearances to Americans who are accustomed to clean, sanitary hospitals, the women who had delivered seemed genuinely happy and content with their new babies.  However, our task was to create a safer, cleaner, and more appealing clinic which was worth undertaking.

By the end of the three day conference, an agreement had been reached and much  had been learned about each others cultures.  Osogbo has the responsibility for refurbishing the clinic and staffing it with trained personnel.  Xiangyang, China has agreed to seek the approval from their government to provide equipment to the clinic.  Asheville and Raleigh, N. C. have agreed to seek out qualified doctors to provide training for the medical staff in Osogbo.  In addition, Asheville would like to provide beds, consumable hospital materials (such as gloves and syringes), and an up-to-date delivery table.

This is an exciting and worthwhile project for anyone who would like to help the Asheville/Osogbo Sister City Committee.  To join Asheville Sister Cities Organization just go to the web site at: ashevillesistercities.org for more information.

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