From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The joy of Ugbene community in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State knew no bound last weekend as the humanitarian arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) handed over to the community a health centre renovated by the church to address their health challenges.
It also donated assorted medical equipment to the hospital which included blood bank refrigerator, stethoscope, sterilizing machine, first aid boxes, de-sterling bed and delivery bed, mattresses, trolley, drawer cupboard, baby weight scale, adult scale, baby kits and solution machine.
While handing over the items to the community, the President of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Onitsha, Nigeria stake, Peter Ezeigwe, told the agrarian community that healthcare delivery, especially in rural community was the priority of the church.
He disclosed that they have extended such gestures to Onitsha and Ekwulobia general hospitals and hopes to donate more medical equipment to Nnewi and Nkpor-Uno hospitals on October 28.
“The humanitarian arm of our church, the LDS Charities spotted Ugbene community as one of the communities in Anambra State that are in dire need of health facilities and decided to intervene.
“Health is very important to us and we care for the salvation of the people. The Lord led us to come to Ugbene to do something and that is why we are here to better their health condition. The Saviour, Jesus Christ came for us to have life and while on earth, he went about doing good and the same is what Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is doing today,” he said.
The president explained that the mission of the Church is to invite all people to Jesus Christ and by so doing attend to “the spiritual and temporal welfare of mankind.”
In their separate speeches, Bishops Moses Nnamdi and Davide Okafor of Awka ward one and Okpuno ward respectively revealed that the church, in the spirit of public private partnership completed the building project initiated by the local government authority and stakeholders from the community by flooring the compound, painting the entire building, providing doors, almaco windows and burglaries, a gesture they described as a global humanitarian service to rural communities.
Receiving the items, the President General of the community, Chief Albert Ibe, who was visibly elated by the gesture, thanked the LDS charities for extending the humanitarian service of the church to Ugbene community, saying that the facility and equipment will no doubt reduce the maternal and child mortality ratio in the community.
According to him, the gesture “is history in so many fronts because the issue of unwarranted deaths, maternal and child mortality will be a thing of the past.”
He, however, went down memory lane on the status of the health facility before the church’s intervention, saying, “in the building, the local government put the building in place without plastering. Those places were covered with glasses until the church came, provided the burglary proof, the tiling, the electrical work, the plumbing to make it a befitting health centre that will serve the needs of the people and today, they donated these medical equipment to the surprise of all of us.”
He appealed to the state government to complement the efforts of the church by providing the workforce needed for the church to function optimally.
He said: “We are now appealing to the state government to give us nurses and a visiting doctor that will be attending to the health needs of our people.”
Oriental News gathered that Ugbene community is one of the communities in Anambra State that has been neglected abysmally by the government. They lack basic amenities that make life tick in rural communities such as access road, electricity and water.
Most people who were coming for the official hand over of the hospital to the community were stocked due to inaccessible road while others trekked for more than a kilometre to access the health centre.
A community leader from the community and a chieftain of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Fabian Ekweazo lamented the poor state of Ugbene road and called on the government for urgent attention.
“No accessible road to my community, the people that came for this function had their vehicles stocked on the road because of lack of road and state government, during Governor Willie Obiano’s recent visit to the community few months ago, he approved the tarring of our road from Agbanato junction to the bridge and this has not been done.
“The construction company handling Amansea-Awba Ofemili road actually over -sighted it but most worrisome is that throughout this rainy season, no vehicle can come into my community. Some stakeholders from the community have visited the Commissioner for Works over that and he promised to do something about that.
“It may also interest you to note that the light in the health centre has not been connected to the main greed, so the government should come to our aid so that the effort of the church will not be in vain.”
Chairman, Awka North Local Government Area, Lawrence Onwuzuka, who was represented by his Deputy, Okeke Obumneme commended the church for the gesture and identified health care as the major challenge of the people and residents of Awka North.
He promised to convey the appeals and feelings of the people of the Ugbene community to Governor Willie Obiano for necessary actions.