Founding a Full-Service Hospital to Address Vital Needs in Niger

2017

It was upon immigrating to the United States that Dr. Mahaman Moussa truly learned about the value and impact of community service. He came to the U.S. from the African country of Niger to pursue a specialty in veterinary medicine, and eventually ended up earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, as well as his nurse practitioner (NP) designation. He now serves as core faculty in the Nurse Practitioner program at Walden University. His journey from immigrant to community member, to educator — and now change agent in his home country — has been one filled with challenges and, ultimately, empowerment.

Dr. Moussa now splits his time between the United States and Niger, as he has recently founded a full-service hospital in Niger along with his wife, Dr. Fatchima Moussa, who is also a certified nurse practitioner, and key partners in the country and abroad. After many years living in the United States, he had begun to travel back to Niger, which ranks second to last among all countries and territories in the world in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, an assessment of health, education, and standard of living that indicates overall prosperity throughout the world.

“I noticed a deficiency in [medical] care when I started traveling back to my country,” Dr. Moussa said. “I was empowered to do something.” Applying knowledge in service and medicine fostered over his many years away from Niger, he began to build relationships with community leaders and assess the medical needs in the country. In 2015, he founded the Raouda Medical Center in western Niger. The 50-bed hospital opened its doors in August 2016.

Since its opening, the center has served more than 500 patients at little to no cost and is equipped with the latest technology, allowing the center to provide a range of services in general medicine, surgery, pediatrics, mental health, and gynecological care. The center’s work is already well-recognized in the country; the current president of the Republic of Niger visited the hospital in recent months.

“Our facility is unique, and we are training the next generation of medical providers in our nation,” Dr. Moussa said. The model he developed brings in medical providers and students from all over the country to provide services in the hospital, and also to do trainings in evidence-based techniques. All of this success has been hard-won, but Dr. Moussa ties much of it back to the support and empowerment provided by the Walden University community.

“This wouldn’t have happened without the support of Walden,” Dr. Moussa said. From the start, the Dean of the School of Nursing, Dr. Andrea Lindell, has been a key supporter, along with the Nurse Practitioner Program Director, Dr. Linda Steele, who told Dr. Moussa that what he was doing was of the “utmost importance” to Walden’s social change mission.

Additionally, Dr. Moussa’s colleague in the nurse practitioner core faculty, Dr. Jeani Thomas, helped him to secure in-kind donations for a full-service mobile medical clinic that allows the Raouda Medical Center to expand its capabilities and offerings. From the highest levels of leadership at Walden, Dr. Moussa has felt supported and enabled, something that has freed him up to undertake work that is truly creating lasting change in his home country.