BY CHRIS ONUOHA
An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Mrs Bolaji Fati staunchly believes that Nigeria can surmount its numerous health challenges if more people voluntarily engage in medical outreaches.
The Executive Director, Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi Foundation, MAM, which has in the last three years provided sustainable interventions in the areas of education and healthcare for rural dwellers in the country, Fati had an encounter with Feminista.
What have been your findings in the areas you’ve covered so far?
We’ve realised, from our outreaches, that the medical needs of Nigerians are enormous. Government talked endlessly about the millennium development goals, but this does not reflect in the places we go to.
We see vulnerable children with malaria symptoms, cough and all sorts of ailments that are constantly part of their growing up. Then, we realised we needed to make our intervention one that has the backing of the Nigerian government.
The fact is, everyone has to work together with government to find lasting solution to the medical needs of the poor in this country.
This, we can achieve by partnering to set up community health centres and sending volunteers to work there.
Since inception in 2012, MAM has carried out medical outreaches in rural places like Ibeju-Lekki and Epe in Lagos State while similar interventions were conducted in several communities in Ogun State. A challenge we however have is in the area of personnel because most of the volunteers(doctors, nurses, medical laboratory technicians, pharmacists) are supplied by the St. Nicholas Hospital in Lagos, while we buy the drugs and plan the scheme of work for the entire outreach.
Prior to any medical intervention during our outreaches, we give a ten- minute general counseling and health talk before administering drugs.
How many persons do you attend to per programme?
We are well equipped and can attend to over 800 people per programme. But the number varies, depending on the need of the people.
You trained over 40 out-of-school-girls recently in Ogun State. Tell us about your work in the area of education?
Yes, the foundation has carried out several educational empowerment programmes for girls. Recently, over 40 out-of-school-girls in Ogun State were engaged in training workshops where they were tutored on how to make stove wigs, confectioneries and drinks. At the end, cash donations were disbursed to enable them start up and become independent entrepreneurially.
Presently, we are working towards sponsoring underprivileged children from primary to university level. It will be based on the academic intelligence of the child, though.
We are starting from primary five pupils to monitor and find who possesses the required criteria, potential and intelligence. It must be an indigene from a host community with lack of capacity to go to school.
Teachers’ capacity building
Teachers’ capacity building workshop was also conducted in Lagos and Ogun states recently. This programme saw over 60 public school teachers per programme in attendance. New innovation in teaching method and technology were introduced to enhance teaching aid against the obsolete method in public schools.
Advice to policy makers
Even as we seek to enhance quality of lives through education, I will appeal to policy makers to formulate policies that would lighten the load of the poor in this country.