Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Succour has come the way of Mr. Ali Chimezie, Kate Nwafor, Mrs. Chinwe Igwe and 14 others from Ezza North and Ishielu local government areas of Ebonyi State.
They had been stranded at the Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (AE-FUTHA), because of their inability to pay their medical bills many months after they were treated and discharged. Some of them have spent more than five months in the hospital after being discharged from the hospital but could not go home as their hospital bills had not been paid.
Respite came for them last week when the lawmaker representing Ezza North/Ishielu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Edwin Nwonu (Anatex), visited the hospital and offset all their medical expenses. They were, thereafter, free to reunite with their families.
One of the beneficiaries of the lawmaker’s magnanimity, Mr. Ali Chimezie, an accident victim, said the lawmaker has given him and other beneficiaries a new life.
“He has removed a big burden on me and other beneficiaries. Where would I have got the thousands of naira the hospital charged me? I pray that God Almighty will continue to bless him and his family,” he said.
Speaking at the end of the exercise, the lawmaker said N2,419,160.00 was spent on offsetting the bills of the 17 patients.
The lawmaker who was represented by one of his aides, Mr. Felix Nwankwo, said the event, done annually, was part of the series of activities to mark his 2020 birthday.
He said the lawmaker had been carrying out other life changing empowerment programmes in Ezza/Ishielu Federal Constituency in order to make life easier and meaningful for his constituents.
He noted that over 100 youths from the constituency were recently trained in various entrepreneurial and agricultural value chains to make them self-reliant.
His words: “We are here for the purpose of paying hospital bills for some indigent patients from our constituency. Some of these patients have been treated and discharged but they don’t have money to pay their bills and go home, while some are still receiving treatment in this hospital.
“It is an annual event, but this year’s own is happening the same time with my birthday date.
“It has been so helpful in so many ways. Recently we trained 100 youths, women inclusive, in agricultural business and how to establish and manage their own businesses and at the same time be employers of labour.”
Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Emeka Onwe Ogah, commended the lawmaker for remembering his indigent constituents in the hospital and prayed God to continue to bless him.
Ogah who was represented by the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee of the hospital, Dr Richard Ewa recalled that the lawmaker was in the hospital last year for a similar exercise and urged him to continue to represent his people very well.
He said: “On behalf of the management of Alex Ekwueme Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, staff and these patients, we want to thank him and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
“He was here last year and everybody rejoiced because he came and did the same thing. And I want to say on behalf of these ones that cannot even say thank you. They don’t even know him. They are praying for him and it is the most important gift he can have that these ones are saying, ‘thank you,’ because he is touching God’s heart through the people. And he is here to do it again.”