Eleven local government areas and Christian and Muslim primary healthcare centres in Lagos State recently conducted medical outreaches and gave free drugs donated by a German non-governmental organisation, Vitamins Angels.
According to the coordinator of the outreach, chairmanof the Christian Health Association of Nigerian (CHAN), Lagos State chapter, Dr. Abayomi Odubekun, the drugs were distributed through CHAN, the local government and a Muslim group network. According to him, the chief imam of Lagos Central Mosque was involved, as the drugs were also distributed through the health facilities operated by his group. He said the outreach was in collaboration with the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board.
Odebekun stated that: “Seven churches in Lagos State were involved in the exercise. They were the Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Methodist Church, Baptist Church, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) and the Aladura churches. We had full participation of members. The drugs were distributed through their various health clinics.
“In our church, the Hoarse Memorial Methodist Cathedral Clinic, Yaba, we had pregnant women numbering over 50 and at least 70 children. Reports we gathered showed that there were large turnouts of people too in other churches’ clinics; people came out to participate in the medical outreach and picked their drugs for free.
“Vitamin Angels recently sent us some large quantity of the vitamin A drugs for children, multivitamins for pregnant women, and Abandazole worm expeller for distribution.
“The first two drugs are essential necessities to the immune system. Some of the health issues people have today are as a result of lack of vitamin A.
“Vitamin A plays significant roles in the eyes; it protects the eyes from night blindness, it lowers the risk of certain cancers. Cancer occurs only when the abnormal cells begin to grow abnormally; Vitamin A supports the immune system; it attacks infections in the immune system and helps the red blood cells function properly. Lack of Vitamin A affects the skin and bone if it is not taken adequately. It also promotes growth and reproduction in pregnant women, as it helps the vital organs of the baby to grow effectively. Lack of Vitamin A in pregnant women causes deformity in the unborn child; it could make delivery difficult and perhaps cause a stillbirth.”
On the Abandazole worm expeller in the body, he said: “Due to the dirty environment we live in, it’s easy for worms to penetrate the body, especially children.”
He said the major target of the outreach was to reach out to pregnant women and children in particular.
He said to get to that point, CHAN sought the approval of the Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board and was given the go-ahead through the board’s permanent secretary, Dr Lateef Lawal.
He stated that the gesture was part of CHAN’s medical evangelism programme, adding that between June 24 and July 1, free VVF surgery would be performed on many women who have the challenge in the state and that would be done in conjunction with Evangel VVF Centre and Lagos CHAN. He said a VVF expert, Dr. Sunday Leagmang, would be conducting free VVF screening, investigation and surgeries at Hoarse Memorial Methodist Cathedral Clinic, Yaba, Lagos.
“Once again, we intend to work with the state government so that they can inform those who have the challenge to be here. We intend to play jingles on radio to create more awareness.
“The gesture is part of CHAN’s efforts at reaching the unreached in various communities throughout the country. CHAN is an advocacy group committed to ensuring healthy living among people who can barely afford to pay for healthcare services.”
One of the beneficiaries of the drugs, Abimbola Qaudri, a pregnant woman, expressed gratitude to the sponsors for supporting them with the drugs. She narrated her ordeal when she was unable to buy drugs prescribed for her during her last pregnancy and during her delivery due to lack of money.
“These drugs will last until I deliver,” she said. “I pray God will bless the organisers for this gesture.”