Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Succour came the way of the people of Ijesa land in Osun State recently when Careerbridge Foundation and Communitywide Charities collaborated to provide free medical care to them.
The gesture took place in two major Ijesa towns, Ilesa and Ijebu-Jesa, where about 7,000 persons benefitted from the programme at the general hospitals in Ilesa and Ijebu-Jesa. During the outreach, doctors, nurses and different categories of health care providers offered medical cares to the people suffering from different kinds of ailments and other health challenges.
Tests were conducted to ascertain the health conditions of the beneficiaries. Other services included general surgeries, free medical examination, physiotherapy, eye examination and surgery, distribution of reading glasses, health insurance scheme enrolment, distribution of drugs, counselling and awareness talk, blood sugar level checks, malaria, hepatitis tests and dental checks.
The Chief Executive Officer, Careerbridge, Module Olowodahunsi, said the exercise was a corporate social responsibility to the host communities: “The primary motive of the free medical outreach is to reduce untimely death among youths and elderly ones.
A lot of them die of diseases and ailments that are preventable. This occurs mainly among the less privileged who cannot afford medical care due to poverty. That is why we decided to do this free of charge to assist the people.
“The ‘I don’t care’ attitude of many influential and the wealthy people in this country gives serious concern. They fail to assist the poor by sponsoring health care programme for them. In Africa many people who are rich neglect the needy in poor health conditions.
“We chose the state hospitals to meet the grassroots people who find it difficult to go to hospital in urban areas even for mere medical check up, let alone treatment.”
He counselled people to avoid certain lifestyles that can make them susceptible to certain life-threatening ailments: “We have 250 successful surgeries in cataract and general surgery at the general hospitals in Ijebu-Jesa and Ilesa, while over 1,300 people got reading glasses.
“This our third free medical outreach at Careerbridge Foundation since this year. God has sent us to the sick and we cannot neglect this mission. We want to make sure that our people are in sound health.”
Tosin Bamidele, a trader, thanked the team for the initiative, especially the free surgery and distribution of drugs. He lamented that he had been suffering from hernia for the past 20 years said: “I was not able to undergo any test or screening for diagnosis due to lack of funds.
I really appreciate this team for coming to our aid. With the present economic situation in the country, many of us cannot afford exorbitant cost of treatment at the hospitals. But Careerbridge Foundation has brought doctors to attend to us. I wish other NGOs and individuals could do the same since government cannot do everything.”
Joshua Atobatele, a civil servant: “I was diagnosed of hepatitis B early this year. Since then, I have been finding it difficult to go to the hospital for full treatment because I cannot afford it. But today, I have been treated free of charge. I was also given free drugs. I am still finding it difficult to believe that it is for free. May God continue to bless them.
“I want government at all levels to give priority to the welfare of the less privileged and provide adequate health facilities to us and ensure that we have access to good healthcare.
“If you go to most government hospitals and primary health centres you can’t have good health care because of non-availability of good drugs. In most cases, the best you can get is paracetamol and malaria drugs, which cannot even help you. As a result, they recommend drugs for you to go and buy. If your case requires injection, you have to also buy the drugs and the syringes. If you don’t have money you are on your own.
“Governments at all levels have to provide adequate drugs and medical equipment in public hospitals to provide good health care service to the less privileged who can not go to private hospitals or travel abroad for medical attention due to poverty.”
Oladipo Ajayi: “This programme is a welcome development. We want it to continue even if it is two times in a year. A lot of people have been dying in silence due to different sicknesses. Owing to poverty they cannot afford hospital bills. I learnt that there is National Health Insurance Scheme. But not everybody is in the scheme. I thank God that they brought this health programme to our door-step.
“Government should introduce a health care programme that can give opportunity to the less privilege to enjoy medical attention free of charge. This is a part of the dividends of democracy that we deserve from government.”
A kola nut trader, Mrs Kafayat Oluwadara: “I have been suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes since early this year. Sometimes I could not even buy the drugs recommended for me. At this health care programme, I was treated free of charge. They also gave me free drugs and counselling on how to manage the cases in terms of the kind of foods to eat and not to eat. I am so glad.”
Estate agent, Mr Kunle Oyewale: “Everybody has been praying for the two foundations for bringing this programme to Ijesa land. They have done us a big favour. I have been suffering from hemorrhoids for the past eight years. But I don’t have money to undergo surgery.
“But I thank God for the opportunity from Careerbridge Foundation and Communitywide Charities to enjoy a free treatment of the ailment. The NGOs alone cannot continue to do this. Government devotes a lot of money to health in this country through the Ministry of Health. But we, the less privileged, are not feeling much impact.
“I have not seen any government hospital that performs free surgery. Government needs to improve on its medical services in this country. A lot of people are dying secretly just because they are poor and can not afford medical care when they fall sick.”
Adewale Joseph who coordinated the insurance scheme of the NGO said: “We give drugs to those whose poor health conditions do not require surgery and registered them under health insurance scheme.”
He added that the 2,000 people enrolled into insurance scheme both in Ilesa and ijebu-Jesa would be placed under viable hospitals, while the scheme would be renewed yearly by the NGO.