(By Nkiru Odinkemelu and Ogechukwu Agwu)
When a client advised Dr Isaac Ayodele, a naturapath, to persist and not despise the small beginning of his firm in 1996, he took the advice. Today, Ayodele Slimmers and Naturopathic Clinic and Africa Herbals has become a universal brand. The organisation has grown and has Diafa Ayodele Herbals as a trade mark. The arms of the firm include Ayodele Herbal Farms, Ayodele Health Products and Ayodele Public Health Clinic/Resort.
According to him, “I aim at revolutionising the concept of herbal medicine which was hitherto regarded as fetish, unhygienic and primitive. The organization has campaigned for a new information order that should place herbal medicine in its proper place in Africa and beyond.
“In the last 20 years, my firm has transformed the concept of herbal products, herbal farm and herbal health care that can be used with pride by all races, religion, sex, nations and socio economic strata.
The organisation has developed three strong arms: Ayodele Herbal Farms, Ayodele Herbal Products, Ayodele Clinic/Resort.
He said Ayodele Herbal Farms is the arm that cultivates medicinal herbs for use in the factory where products are manufactured.
“The farm also cultivates medicinal plants and makes it available to the teeming population who find it difficult to source the herbs. The farm cultivates both foreign and local herbs to improve the health and wellbeing of its clients at home and abroad. Besides, another reason for the establishment of the farm is to enhance further standardization and hygiene of products. Hence it cultivates in a very clean environment, and uses organic manure instead of obnoxious fertilizers.
“The herbal product manufacturing arm of the organization has an office, a dressing room, a mini warehouse for raw materials, production and packaging room, as well as mini warehouse for finished products.”
He said many factors stand out his products from the rest. These include use of organic medicinal plants from its farms in the production of the products. “This guarantees safety, standardization and hygiene of its products. We upgrade our products to international standards..The products are formulated and produced by professionals in herbal medicine, pharmacologists, in addition to myself who has a Doctor of Science in Public Health. I have written more than 25 books including the bestseller, “when the doctor is away”.
“Our clinic is the centre for clinical trials of our products. The clinic is also for public health. It is an integrative medical centre attending to the health needs of individuals, devising various ways of improving the health of the people.”
He said, “I had a dream that one day there will be a hospital for the rich and the poor, those who can afford the high cost of medical bills and those who cannot even afford to eat a meal per day, talk less of affording medical bill. Indeed many who live below poverty line are dead due to their inability to provide basic medical bill. All the hospitals are basically set up to cure the sick. This is fine. How about prevention, which we all agree is better than cure. Even the fathers of modern medicine opine that your food should be your medicine, and your medicine should be your food.
“In view of this, when Ayodele Clinic project commenced in 1996, we projected to think outside the box in the bid to reach out to the myriads of less privileged patients who die in droves unheralded. They did not have access to medicine, and no access to prevention. They lacked the knowledge of what to do where there is no doctor, or when the doctor is on strike, as well as when the doctor drives away the patient as a result of exorbitant medical bill, beyond the reach of the common man.
“This is in line with the mission and vision of Diafa Ayodele herbals. In retrospect, Ayodele was born as a born again child of avenger. God arrested the founder, Dr, Isaac Ayodele while plotting to wound the soul of Nigeria in revenge for the soul of his dear father, Jimoh Ayodele, a soldier in the Nigeria Army, who fought gallantly in the civil war, to keep Nigeria one, and was murdered in cold blood in the war front, somewhere at Ogoja.
“His labour was in vain. There was no compensation for his demise, and the young Isaac, the only child of his dad on earth; as a result, had to paddle his own canoe all alone in poverty, pain and neglect. I still feel the hurt in my bones, I feel dagger in my heart. But, I thank the God that arrested me in 1996 who consoled me and directed me to rather do good to humanity. That was how I changed my mind by immortalizing Ayodele, the name of my dad.’’
“As Diafa Ayodele Herbals clocks 20, this year, having set the pace for a new approach to medicine, in support of the less privileged, ahead of the 20th anniversary in December, 2016, we chose July, 2016, to build the concept of giving hope to those who cannot afford medical bill. The whole essence is to take from the rich and give to the poor, to take from those who have and give to those who don’t have. We all have, we should all give. Those who have little should give little; those who have more should give more. The concept is if you give and I give, and we all give, the world will be a better place to live.
“So we had to begin the new project in July, 2016. It took off on the 18th, with free medical care. More than 400 people participated. In the course of the medical checkup over one hundred people were diagnosed for high blood pressure, a silent killer that has claimed many lives unannounced. So, on the last day of the medical care, we had to do a public health talk on hypertension as a silent killer. The dangers which included susceptibility to cerebral stroke, loss of sight, kidney complications, heart failure and stiffness of the arteries were highlighted, with the safest way out. In addition, participants were told to avoid, smoking, excess salt, alcohol, junk and denatured food, while making regular exercises and happiness their companion.
“Also, there was a tour of Ayodele Herbal Farms, talk about a few out of about 100 medicinal plants in the farm. That was before sample healthy food prepared from our green kitchen was served. The participants were informed about the medicinal value of the ingredients in the food, which include, garlic, onion, ginger, ugwu, bitterleaf, efirin, tomatoes and shoko yokoto. Finally, the event culminated with the inauguration of Ayodele Natural Health Club, with a takeoff of over 200 members.”