Opportunities to access free healthcare keep growing for poor Nigerians, particularly women and children as another group of women offers humanitarian medical outreach at no cost to beneficiaries. ERIC IKHILAE reports.
Barring any unintended shift in position, more Nigerians will soon be able to access free medical care in view of the decision by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social to work with a group that engages in the provision of free services to indigent citizens.
Miteda Wellness Initiative (MWI) – founded by a Nigerian physician formerly based in Canada, Dr. (Mrs) Adefunmilola Williams-Daudu, has joined the growing number of public spirited Nigerians in service to humanity.
A delegation of the group recently paid a visit to the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen to assure Nigerians of the group’s willingness to give succour to the poor and needy.
Besides Dr. Williams-Daudu other members of the delegation were the group’s spokesperson, Olatutu Oladunni Bilesanmi; Head of Evaluation and Monitoring Unit, Mrs. Yemisi Otitoju; and a member, who is a surgeon, Dr. A. Alohan.
During a presentation, Bilesanmi said the MWI has been around for a while and has collaborated with reputable health institutions in Canada, the United States and other countries to carry out health outreach in the Nigeria.
Bilesanmi said, “We have done about six reach out editions in recent time where we attended to people with medical needs, free of charge.
We believe this is our way of giving back to the society. We believe that when we impact medically in people’s lives, we are impacting in the nation. This is in line with the saying that a healthy nation is a great nation.
“We collaborate with stakeholders in our outreach activities. We have worked with state governments across the country.
One of our recent projects was the collaboration we had with the Benue State Government last year. Earlier, we have collaborated with Ondo State, Lagos State and the Niger-Delta Ministry, among others, who were impressed with what we are doing.”
She explained that the group’s decision to visit the Minister and seek the collaboration of the Ministry was that “we realised, from your antecedents, the zeal to improve the condition of the vulnerable ones, particularly the women and children.
You share our passion and we have decided to work with you. That is one of the reasons why we are here.”
Leader of the team, Williams-Daudu explained what the creation of her group was all about and why they chose to work with the Minister.
She said the idea of the initiative came when she wanted to celebrate her 40th birthday, but chose to visit the village to celebrate by providing health services for the poor rather than gathering friends for drinks and food.
“So, I took along about seven doctors, 12 nurses and laboratory scientists, including what I could afford. We went to the villageand attended to many, who needed medical attention. We also attended to some emergency cases.
“I returned to my base in Canada. But, two weeks after, a prominent member of the community, whose relative benefited from our medical outreach, called me and suggested that we should not let this thing die just like that.
We should make it an annual event. And that was how Miteda started and till date, we have sustained it.
“Our areas of activities include screening for diabetes, cervical cancer and some other forms of cancer. We treat sight problems, and engage in health advocacy activities.
We also build capacities in the area of health management services.
“Over the years, I have brought some of my former colleagues, who are health experts from Canada to train doctors and nurses in Ondo State government’s institutions.
We also support children from poor homes with school materials under the programme we call Operation Kit the Child”, Williams-Daudu said.
She revealed that over 5,000 persons have benefited from the group’s activities, in collaboration with Lagos and Ondo state governments in providing free screening for diabetes, hypertension, cervical and breast cancer.
Williams-Daudu said her group was planning another outreach for Nasarawa and Abuja, which will be extended to Plateau State (the Minister’s home state), during which MWI’s members and volunteers will attend to cases of diabetes, hypertension, cervical cancer; engage in eye examination, oral surgery, and provide glasses and treatment for all sorts of ailments.
“By 2020, we are going to bring in some renowned eye experts to do some rare eye surgeries and to also build the capacity of some local eye experts.
We have collaborated with Lagos State and the experts will be coming from March 8 to 15. We have over 200 volunteers.
“Among the volunteers, we had many who were screened and were positive. Breast and cervical issues are not like fever that ou can feel through someone’s temperature.
We are not leaving anybody out of it. When you are screened, you get to know your status,” she said.
At the end of the presentations, the group inducted Mrs Tallen as its life matron and presented her with a certificate, the group’s uniform (a T-shirt) and proceeded to decorate her with a ribbon.
The Minister, while responding, hailed the visitors for the good work they have been doing for women and children across the country, by giving them hope where there seems to be no hope, by conducting screening and engaging in other forms of health outreach, in the areas of cancer, eye, among others and, by so doing, giving hope to the hopeless within the society.
Continuing, Tallen said, “I commend you and your organisation for the good work you are doing. And I call on other well-meaning Nigerians to engage in similar activities of reaching out and paying back to the larger society, from what the society has given us.
“The Ministry of Women Affairs is always very excited to work and collaborate with people who reach out to give hope to women and children.
This Ministry is ready to support any initiative that will give hope to humanity. And I want to assure you that we will partner together to reach out to more people.
“I commend your effort and I thank you for finding me worthy to be appointed as a life matron of this organisation.
It is also my hope that those you have touched will also extend the benefit of your services to others, so that we can have a healthier and happier society, because a healthy society is a productive society.
“I want to express my sincere appreciation to all your partners and members of your team from Canada and within for the good work you are doing and I pray that God will continue to empower you, strengthen you and give you the inspiration to do more”.
The Minister assured the group of government’s support and urged its members not to relent in their commitment to bringing succour to the poor and vulnerable.
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