From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Worried by the prevailing cases of paediatric cancer, the Lions Clubs International, has begun the process of raising funds about N50 million to equip the centre located at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada.
President of Abuja Metropolitan Lions Clubs, District 404-A2, Aniekan Michael, who had his investituret yesterday in Abuja, explained that so far, about N30 million had been spent to set up the edifice, but would need about N50 million to equip it.
Lion Michael added that his desire to take up the project stems from his soft spot for children and the less privileged.
“Today is actually one of those event where we bring people from all works of life to ensure that we can bring about reform and renew our mind set as to what humanitarian service should look like within our space.
“Today is our investiture as well as fundraising that will signal the beginning of new lions where a new president is being installed.
“And, also, on a flip side, there is a fundraiser to actually help us launch towards the project for the year. For the year, 2021/2022, it is year we are so particular about paediatric cancer.
“And the project for this year I have taken upon myself is to consolidate on where we are coming from.
“Just last year, during the Corona era, the Club was able to put 20 bed space oncology centre donated at no cost to the University of Abuja Teaching hospital.
“Today, is an another opportunity to bring friends, families and well-meaning Nigerians into our space to ensure that we can put together our common wealth to equip that centre to help it get into full function state.
“As at last year, I want to believe we had over N30 million spent in putting together that facility and for this year, it is desire that we can have a frontrunner as a financial strength to kick-start full equipping so that children who are faced with cancer can have hope to how best they can survive this issue.
“It is open to the public and I am a lot more particular about the underprivileged reason being that one of the focused areas of the Lions Club international.
“And for today’s event, I am a lot more particular and passionate about this issue. It is my desire that we can nip it in the bud.”
Aside paediatric cancer, he stated that Club earmarked diabetes, sight enhancement, clean environment and hunger eradication as its core projects.
He said: “The five areas of the Lions Clubs is diabetes. We want to reach out to the elderly. So there is also the place where we are very careful about our environment.
“Environment is one key area we try to promote. There is also vision. We try as much as possible to get into the space to promote good sight and help people get better sight.
“Any part is hunger. It is one area we are also particular about and the fifth one is the paediatric cancer which is why we are all gathered today.
“It is my desire that we can put together an estimate of N50 million just so we can get the best of equipment that can help this children have some level of succour as it relates to healthcare and attention.
“Part of the things we are going to do is that when we make this donation we will try as much as possible to relate with the hospital management to give some level of rebate to the end users.
“What that means is that you do not have to stress on the cost of the bill when you incur using the space.
“If you go we have the very best of doctor who are trained in abroad and attending to issues of cancer.
“Ife rest assured that it is one area we are desired to promote the awareness we all need to tackle cancer as it relates to children.”
“He assured Nigerians that the centre and the treatment would be sustained as the association would consistently provide basic amenities to keep it running.
“The sustainable culture with the lion club international is that we do not just donate and then leave you out of it.
“We stay in the space to help you maintain and manage the place and from time to time, we get into the space to ask what are the needed things we can also add to help you improve the value or the services they are offering.
“The statistics of paediatric cancer in Nigeria is high. You will agree with me that we are faced with several issues when we relate to this cause.
“Nigeria is so much recording the cases and it is on the rise. So, one could possibly draw a conclusion that we are heading to an epidemic as it relates to childhood cancer. It is my passion because I am a lot more soft when it come to children.
“For instance, some time last year, before we even conceive the idea of building the space, we went into the hospital and noticed that the children who had cancer were mixed up with other children in the paediatric ward.
“It is our desire to separate them so that infectious rats do not increase and the death rate is reduced to a larger extend.”
Meanwhile, Another District Governor, Lion Linda Odu Okpe-Seyi, announced that the group would build a diabetes centre in Ogoja in Cross River State, which is expected to serve Benue and Ebonyi State, and by extension, internally displaced Cameroonians living in Ogoja.
According to her, “What we want to do is to alleviate the sufferings of the less privileged in the society. Top on our list is to build a diabetes centre in Cross River State.
“We have one in Abuja and Calabar. The one we are building now in Ogoja will serve Benue State, Ebonyi State and part of Northern Cross River.
“We have some displaced Cameroonians over 43,000 who are resident between Ikom and Ogoja, it will also serve them.”