Purchasing of equipment for the “Maria Ines” Hospital in Ezillo, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Project location: Nigeria, Ezillo, Ebonyi State
Project start date: December 2010 - Project end date: June 2001
Project number: 2010-41
Beneficiary: Missionarie Clarisse del Santissimo Sacramento

The Congregation of the Clarissan Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament is a female religious institute of pontifical right, with a headquarter in Rome.
The congregation, which now has 576 religious houses in 59 homes, comes from the missionary community founded in Cuernavaca (Mexico) in 1945 by Mother Maria Ines T. Arias (1904-1981), Poor Clare sacramental nun. On June 22, 1951 the Holy See authorized the community from Cuernavaca to separate from sacramental Poor Clares and to found a congregation dedicated to active apostolate. The Poor Clare Missionaries obtained papal approval on May 5, 1953.
They are dedicated to various forms of apostolate: missions, education, catechesis, assistance to the sick and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the Spirit of repair. The sisters are in the Americas (Argentina, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States), Asia (South Korea, Japan, India, Indonesia), Africa (Nigeria, Sierra Leone) and Europe (Ireland, Italy, Russia).
In Nigeria, the congregation has been operating since 1976 and currently has 63 missionaries, divided into six communities. The missionaries in Nigeria undertake the work of evangelization of the population, in serving the poor and needy regardless of race, sex or religion in healing the sick, the elderly and children by any means available, to allow access to education for rural people, in providing health facilities accessible to the poor and underprivileged and initiating and supporting other social programs that meet the needs of the population, in particular with regard to the sick, the elderly and those needing education.

Geographically, the Ebonyi State is located in south-east of Nigeria. Ezillo is located between the cities of Enugu and Abakaliki, and stands on primarily rocky land, with small bushes. The land is usually cultivated with cassava, yams, peanuts and sweet potatoes. The inhabitants are about 45,000, 95 percent of whom are farmers who cultivate land only during the rainy season.
Ebonyi is one of the least developed states of Nigeria; in Ezillo, home to the Poor Clares, basic services are lacking: drinkable water, electricity, roads, hospitals, schools, transport, etc. There is no government development plan and no commitment on the part of local authorities to do something for the common good. In addition, among the inhabitants of this area there are ancestral problems of clashes between the main ethnic groups and poverty does nothing but increase hatred and resentment.
In September 2006, in the village of Umozoke - Ezillo, Ebonyi State, the authorities and inhabitants of the village have donated to the sisters an area of ​​23,513 hectares, where they can develop services that are more urgent and necessary. After several meetings with the elders and community leaders, such as the parish priest, the parish council and local authorities, regarding the priorities to be financed, it was decided to build a hospital that was called Maria Ines Hospital and the construction ended in June 2009. The building, which was sponsored by the Government of Navarra (Spain), by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum (Vatican) and the Congregation of Poor Clares, is medium in size and includes a laboratory, a female and a male ward, a pharmacy, a labor room, rooms for visitors, two private rooms, administration, laundry, a kitchen and a theater.

Since the construction took place in 2008, during the deep economic crisis that hit all over the world, the sisters have had many difficulties to end the building and buying equipment for the hospital, as the prices of construction materials rose uncontrollably and the euro's purchasing power had dropped, making the purchase of hospital equipment out of the reach of the sisters.
The Nando Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant required to make the hospital operational through the purchase of medical equipment and supplies.
The hospital staff will consist of Poor Clare professional nurses and medical assistants.
Maria Ines Hospital is open to all without distinction as to age, sex, religion, race and social status. Its main objectives are:
 • Reduce child mortality
 • Improving the health of pregnant mothers and breastfeeding women,
 • Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and chronic diseases mainly in the area,
 • Promote equal rights and opportunities for women and get their active participation in social life.
Before opening the hospital, the congregation plans to hold a course of three weeks to prepare the people on the basic rules of hygiene, nutrition, first aid, healthcare and care and protection of children from their very conception.

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