Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Amaudo Itumbauzo situated?
Amaudo is situated in the village of Itumbauzo in Abia state, which is in south-eastern Nigeria. The State capital, Umuahia, is about a 1 hour journey by road. Umuahia is approximately a 3 hour journey from Port Harcourt which is due south and the same again to Enugu which is north. It would take approximately 8 hours by road to travel to Lagos and 45 minutes in the air from the nearest airport.

Why is Amaudo providing this level of mental health care? What about the Nigerian health service?
Nigeria has pockets of very good mental care, including state hospitals, which train doctors and nurses and other health professionals. Despite this, there is no standardised national health service or welfare system. In the rural areas communities will provide support and care to their sick relatives and friends and there are private hospitals and clinic for those who can afford it. However, if the family does not understand the concept of mental health, then superstition and fear can arise and the mentally ill person could be ostracised, become destitute or fall into the care of unorthodox and dubious practitioners. Amaudo works closely with the Government and with the local communities to try and improve the lives of those with mental illness.

How long will people stay in Amaudo for treatment?
Amaudo was set up to work with the person who is destitute and who has no support from anywhere else. If someone is found homeless on the road with mental health needs they are taken to Amaudo. Treatment includes assessment, tracing family, medication and rehabilitation. People generally stay for about 2 years and will leave with a learned skill and the tools to earn a living. Amaudo 2 accepts people who have no home to go to and the CMHP (Community Mental Health Project) will link up with the discharged resident to offer community services and support from a qualified community psychiatric nurse.

Are all the Amaudo Projects situated in the same place?
Please look at our Projects page for more details about the individual projects. Amaudo Headquarters runs out of the Amaudo Okopedi centre, but the other projects are based in different places. Amaudo Ntalakwu is half an hour up the road, in the village of Ntalakwu, surprisingly! Project Comfort operates from the small town of Bende, from where it is easier to access the communities the workers visit and CMHP is based in the town of Umuahia approximately 40 minutes away.

What is the political situation like?
Politically, Nigeria does have a very volatile history, however in recent years the situation has become more stable. Please visit the British foreign office website for up-to-the-minute advice.

Is it safe at Amaudo?
Amaudo Itumbauzo is situated in a rural community. The centre is surrounded by a further 9 small village communities which enjoy a supportive relationship with the centre. It is generally a peaceful place to live. However security is taken seriously and Amaudo does employ an all night security staff. Precautions that would apply to travelling in any part of Nigeria apply here. Don’t drive after dark; don’t take expensive items or lots of cash. Amaudo does have a safe on the premises.

What is sanitation like?
Amaudo has clean water which is pumped from the ground to standpipes. This water is safe to drink and is used in the cooking. This water is also collected in buckets by residents, workers and you (if you go!) and is used for bathing and clothes washing (which is done by hand).

There is a toilet/bathing block behind each residence. This consists of a small room for bathing with your buckets of water and a small room with a pit latrine toilet. Toilet paper is provided for you by the centre. Elsewhere, unless water comes directly from a bore hole, bottled water is drunk and precautions are taken around cooking and eating prepared food.

What are communications and power like in Amaudo?
Amaudo is not connected to the national grid and there are no phone lines in the vicinity. Amaudo has a generator which provides light in the evening until about 10pm.
The nearest telephones are in Umuahia at the NITEL (Nigerian telecommunications) office. Phone calls are expensive and it is often difficult to get a line. However mobile phones work well and are cheap to use once you have a Nigerian sim card.

What is the food like?
The main dishes include boiled yam served with a spicy tomato stew; gari (made from ground cassava - a bit like a stodgy porridge) this is served with ‘soup’ which is often fishy and has a few leafy vegetables in it; and rice serve with beans (black-eyed) and tomato stew. Other dishes include pepper soup which is very spicy and made from meat, pounded yam and ‘soup’, and moi-moi which is made from bean curd.
There is a wide variety of fresh fruit available depending on the time of year (bananas, mangoes, pineapples, oranges, coconuts, avocados etc) also peanuts (called groundnuts), sweet bread, eggs and soft drinks (called minerals) such as coke, fanta, 7up etc.

Please feel free to get in touch through phone, email or letter and we’d be happy to answer any further questions! See contact us for our details.