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Money is not my business -- it’s saving lives
by Camilla Lai and Kerrie Nadine

11 February 2008

In the small and quiet compound surrounded by a backdrop of mango and Trinidadian Poui trees there are five medical mobiles stamped with the Ministry of Health logo. The Sangre Grande hospital has become the new home of Doctor Clement Onuoha, a UNV volunteer who believes volunteering makes a difference in development.

Before moving here, Onuoha worked for 28 years as a Pediatric surgeon in Lagos, Nigeria. When he was not in theatre, he was a lecturing professor at University. He loved healing others and was proud of sharing the knowledge he gained with future medical doctors.

Yet he felt something was missing. So one day he decided to leave his home country and move to Sangre Grande, in Trinidad.

This is why he took this life-changing decision: “I come from a country, a continent, Africa, where there is no free health care. It pained me to see a child with appendicitis and not be able to do anything to treat him.  I could not stand being a doctor anymore having to turn people in need away just because they did not have the money to pay me”. His words flow with the passion and security of a man who made a choice he has never regretted for a moment.

"This is the first time in my life I am working without monetary gain and this makes me happy. Here I am busy everyday helping people, giving a service that is free. This gives me joy. Money is not my business: my business is to save lives. In Trinidad, for the first time, I have been given the opportunity to really work as a doctor and I am grateful."
 
In Trinidad and Tobago, Onuoha joined the rich family of other 82 UNV volunteers, all strong and committed individuals who feel better if their day has made someone else’s day.
UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)