From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Relief came the way of the sick in Enugwu-Ukwu community in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State recently, as the Senator Ikechukwu Godson Abana Foundation came to the area to offer free medical treatment.
From far and near, people from various parts of the community and environs converged on the premises of Uruekwo Primary School, where a medical camp was set up for that purpose. There were about 15 medical personnel in the team.
Aside from medical treatment, there were also empowerment packages for many unemployed youths in the community. Some of them were given tools and equipment to enable them to start the trades, which they already had trained in.
Some of the equipment included welding machines, generators, clippers, sewing machines, shoemaking tools, electrical engineering equipment, ovens for bakery, sets of equipment for panel-beating and hairdressing equipment, among others.
The foundation used the outing to mark its tenth anniversary of touching lives and renewing hopes in the community.
A member of the foundation’s board of trustees, Mr. Sam Ekpe, told Daily Sun that aside from the free medical care and youth empowerment, Senator Abana had been sponsoring scholarships for the past ten years through the foundation.
Ekpe said: “Since its inception in 2010, the foundation has sponsored over 73 students through university education, each of whom was paid N100, 000 per semester for tuition and assistance for upkeep.
“More than 50 of these beneficiaries have graduated from their various institutions and a number of them secured employment in some organisations, including banks.
“Eighteen of the students are still undergoing their studies while more will become beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme of the foundation after going through a transparent process of recommendations and confirmations by the executives of their various villages that they are truly indigent and have no one in their families capable of paying their school fees.
“The eventual beneficiaries are also expected to obtain minimum pass grade in a qualifying test. They are also expected to submit copies of letters of admission from the universities for various courses of study.
“Similarly over 117 beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme have passed through secondary school/ More students are still enrolling and becoming beneficiaries.”
Ekpe added that the community’s women were also given revolving grants to enable them support their business. Those who had none were expected to start one with the grants.
“The foundation through the women wing of Enugwu Ukwu Community Development Union (ECDU) gave a revolving grant of N1.5 million to assist small scale business women. As the beneficiaries utilise and return the loans more funds are given to their leaders to assist more people.
“Every December, for two days since 2010, the foundation embarks on a medical outreach in Enugwu Ukwu where 12 medical doctors, 12 nurses, pharmacists and laboratory attendants are employed to attend to the health needs of the people free of charge. More than 15, 000 persons have benefited from this free medication and eye glasses.
“The foundation, in its belief that every human being created by God should be given an opportunity to enjoy his or her life well beyond the biblical 70 years, established a centre for the elderly where senior citizens of 70 years and above are given medical attention and provided food and healthy drinks in a canteen at half of the normal costs.
“The centre operates a free medical clinic with a medical doctor and two nurses attending to the 70s and above every Saturday throughout the year where they are given medications free of charge.
“The centre has indoor facilities, cable television network and other items of entertainment to keep the brains and intellect of the aged active. The membership of the centre has risen to over 150 in the past ten years and as more people attain 70 years of age they join the club.
“Under the health interventions scheme, the foundation provides palliative funds to patients whose illnesses have been diagnosed as terminal, to enable them purchase drugs and sustain themselves. Over 50 patients have so far benefitted from this scheme.”
Leader of the medical team, Dr John Mgbenwelu, while commending the ex-lawmaker for caring for his people, said that his team had seen patients with diabetes, hypertension, eye problems, malaria and others and also issued drugs and free eyeglasses.
Founder of the foundation, Senator Abana, said he started the empowerment and the free medical treatment ten years ago to cater to the medical needs of his people, support education, and generally touch lives.
Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke and the traditional ruler of the community, Igwe Ralph Ekpeh, commended Senator Abana for his benevolence to the people and prayed God to keep blessing him.