Boulaye opens £20,000 HIV/AIDS Clinic
- hundreds more planned
Former actress and singer star Patti Boulaye's
dream of opening hundreds of one-stop health
centres throughout Africa became a reality
when the first of the clinics was opened
in her home town in Nigeria.
Following two years of planning and fundraising,
Patti opened the first one-stop clinic in
Okpanam in Delta State last month. The Nigerian-born
child star of Bisi Daughter of The River
and several West End musical shows plans
to open two more clinics in Angola and Rivers
State in Nigeria in January next year.
The Opkanam clinic will provide primary
healthcare, counselling, dietary advice,
and awareness information about HIV/AIDS,
which will focus on the prevention of mother
to child transmissions. The impressive £20,000
clinic contains a waiting room, a pharmacy,
four toilets and two treatment rooms. Rev.
Dr Emmanuel Otteh, the Archbishop of Iseluku
Diocese, and Nigerian billionaire Chief
Sunny Odogwu opened the clinic on 26 October
At press conferences held in Lagos and
Abuja, Patti said: "I realised that
to depend solely on one's government was
not the answer. HIV/AIDS waits for no one.
It is the modern day plague without the
cure, but with treatment that only the wealthy
She added: "It is estimated that 29
million people are living with HIV/AIDS
in Africa and only 30,000 people are being
treated. In Africa over 6,000 people are
dying of AIDS everyday and that includes
children." Patti said she was moved
to help AIDS sufferers in 1999 when she
visited an orphanage in Abuja.
To raise funds, Patti presented and organised
a sell-out musical extravaganza called "Reaching
Out For Africa" in March 2002. It included
performances from Sir Cliff Richard, Gabrielle,
and over 3,000 gospel singers. As part of
the Queen's Golden Jubilee Creative Team,
Patti got together with a 5,000-strong gospel
choir for the 4 June Jubilee procession
in front of the Queen. On the 14th of June
2002, singer Michael Jackson gave a day
in support of Patti's Charity during his
visit to London.
Speaking about the launch of the first
clinic last month, Patti said: "It
was fantastic. We are still glowing from
it. We are trying to build clinics in remote
places which are far from hospitals. These
clinics are far off the beaten track and
are for the forgotten people." She
said that to ensure that the clinic is run
properly it will be managed by nuns from
a nearby convent.
She said that clinics will focus on preventing
mother to baby transmissions because there
have been many cases of mothers killing
their babies on realising that they are
infected. "In the cities, people understand.
But in the rural areas people abandon their
babies thinking they are possessed,"
Story by Emenike Po