Professor Changes Lives for Thousands in Philly and Nigeria
April 22, 2014
Omolabake Fadeyibi, an instructor of Health Assessment and Community Health at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions realized her dream of giving back to the two places she calls home when she created her own non-profit organization, LabakCare. Fadeyibi is working tirelessly to help those in need of healthcare both locally in Philadelphia and abroad in her native Nigeria.
Today, LabakCare is a symbol of humanity, and inspires people to follow their dreams against all odds.
Born in a remote village in Western Nigeria, Fadeyibi grew up with almost nothing- including no access to healthcare services. “The rich got richer, and the poor, like me, got poorer. Poor people were left by themselves with no healthcare,” explained Fadeyibi. In addition to the lack of healthcare, education was a commodity which few could afford. For Fadeyibi, nursing became a path out of poverty. “Nursing school was free back then. If you passed an exam, you could go to nursing school, which was government sponsored and free,” she explained. After becoming a registered nurse in Nigera, Fadeyibi came to Philadelphia to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Temple University.
In 2006, Fadeyibi founded LabakCare, which offers free preventative medicine to those with no access to healthcare services. When she travelled back to Nigeria for a health fair, Fadeyibi screened for diabetes, high-blood pressure, rashes, infections, and even cancer. “I saw that people in Nigeria needed help to fix their chronic conditions that they didn’t know they had. I even saw people with blood pressures of 200/140!”
“People all over the world need help too. I saw there were opportunities to give back in Philadelphia as well,” elaborated Fadeyibi. LabakCare joined with local churches and organizations like Volunteers of America to provide healthcare to the homeless and other vulnerable populations in Philadelphia. “During flu season, we gave free flu vaccines at local homeless shelters. We also provided medications and health education,” she said. Today, LabakCare hosts one or more screening and education events per month to help those in need in the Philadelphia region.
In 2012, Fadeyibi’s organization went back to Nigeria for eight days, visiting the villages of Abeokuta, Igangan, and Agugu. The number of volunteer providers in LabakCare grew since its founding in 2006, and now includes nurses, physicians, and local Nigerians. Through fundraising and support from the Catholic Medical Mission, Fadeyibi was able to bring $30,000 worth of medications like anti-fungals, vitamins, pain medications, and diabetes medications to local Nigerian villages. The organization was able to see more than 2,000 patients in approximately one week, and offered maternal services, children’s healthcare, diabetes care, nutrition education, STD preventative care, cancer screenings, and pain remedies. “Our trip was a success and I could see that the people were very happy and grateful,” Fadeyibi said.
Poverty ultimately did not deter Fadeyibi’s path to success and LabakCare is a testament to her passion as a healthcare provider. In the future, she hopes to have Drexel students and other volunteers come to Nigeria to do community health practicums. “We want to explore other areas of the world, wherever help is needed. It started with just me, but now we continue to grow,” she ended.
LabakCare’s work is only made possible with the help of volunteers and donations. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, or to donate, click here.