By Zika Bobby
To help alleviate the sufferings of poor residents of popular Lagos slum neighbourhood, Makoko, a non-governmental organisation, Prince Osinachi Foundation, has provided free access to healthcare, in addition to distribution of free relief material to residents of the area.
The exercise, which was carried out in collaboration with the Nigerian Red Cross Society, reached over 500 beneficiaries with items such as laboratory testing, free eyeglasses, pharmaceutical drugs and food relief items, among others.
Speaking about the event, Mr. Chukwudi Gerald Nnanna, founder, Prince Osinachi Foundation, explained that the organisation was moved by the plight of the residents at a time of economic hardship following the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the charity activities of the foundation had seen it reach out to over 1,000 people during the COVID-19 lockdown to low-income suburbs of Lagos such as Mile 12 and Ikorodu.
“We gave free medical care to over 500 residents. We did this to make them see the love of God differently and let them know that Jesus loves them. By so doing, we are preaching Christ to them by drawing them in with this charity activity, which Christ encourages us all to do to the poor. After handing medical supplies to the people, we also provided relief materials to them as well.
“We chose medical care for the people of Makoko because predominantly, residents of this popular Lagos neighbourhood do not have access to medical aid. Their environment is a mosquito-infested one and not conducive. They are hardly given attention by the government. We came here to support these vulnerable people with provision of the little health care needs that they need to move on with their lives.
“We decided to partner with the Nigerian Red Cross to give us a lead way into the community and help us get a true picture of our target beneficiaries. They are tested and trusted and we are happy with the outcome having successfully recorded the presence of Makoko residents whom we are targeting,” he said.
Also speaking, Olakunle Lasisi, Nigerian Red Cross Society, Branch Secretary, Lagos underscored the critical need of charity interventions to areas such as Makoko, and the importance of collaborations between inter-humanitarian agencies.
“This is the best time to reach out to the poor who are still trying to recover from the harsh economic effect of COVID19 lockdown. This is why we are happy to partner with Prince Osinachi Foundation and we hope to sustain this partnership. Red Cross provided doctors, nurses and personnel to help examine beneficiaries before prescribing necessary drugs. We hope more Nigerians will imbibe this idea so that we can put a smile on the faces of many more Nigerians.”
While appreciating the organisers, Alhaji Salaudeen Idowu, a Makoko community leader, said: “We are grateful to Prince Osinachi Foundation for the support. It is something we never expected. I pray that God almighty will bless the foundation and its officials. Without health, no human being can exist. Indeed, health is wealth. Their medical outreach to our people is a very good and fantastic idea that has gone a long way to touch our hearts.
“I would also like to point out that we need more interventions such as this. For instance, the only hospital servicing Makoko residents is the Nigerian Red Cross Clinic but the facility lacks medical supplies. Staff of the hospital also need to be paid regularly. We appeal to humanitarian and government organisations to come to our aid. Prince Osinachi Foundation has done something very pleasing but the basic health needs of most slum-dwellers in Makoko are quite overwhelming.”