By Sam Eyoboka
AFTER the torrential rainfall of penultimate Sunday, the Lagos State prime tertiary medical facility, Lagos State Teaching University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), played host to a large contingent of ecclesiastical ministers from the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG. The contingent included the General Overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, who had defied the early morning downpour to dedicate a facility refurbished and equipped by the church in LASUTH.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of service to God and humanity, the Apapa Family of the church, made up of over 1,200 parishes across the globe, decided to donate a brand new N40 million fully equipped Intensive Care Unit, ICU, to LASUTH in honour of Adeboye and his wife, Pastor Foluke Adeboye, for their selfless service to God and mankind.
The anniversary, according to the head of Apapa Family, also featured a Women in Leadership series and skills acquisition programme while a group of women in the church, known as Arise Women, partnered the World Kidney Foundation for Africa in a medical intervention programme as well as hosting the 7th edition of God’s Children Got Talent, GCGT, a talent hunt for children and young people to identify and nurture brand ambassadors that would positively impact on the nation’s entertainment culture.
Besides refurbishing and equipping the ICU in the Surgical Emergency section of the hospital, the Apapa Family, headed by Pastor Idowu Iluyomade, a trained lawyer, also donated four CR 5,000 ICU Beds, four Alpha Active 4 Mattresses, B-Braun Infusion Pumps, Syringe Pumps, Muliti-Parameter patient monitors and bedside lockers.
Adeboye, who took time to pray for some critically ill patients after two earlier sermons at the Church’s national headquarters in Ebute Metta and at the Tafawa Balewa Square, venue of EXCEL 2017, declared the facility open, praying: “This place is opened in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. My Father and my God, we pray that beginning from now in this place, there will be no more death. Anyone who is brought here will go back home smiling.
“We ask that Your healing power will begin to operate here. In the entire hospital, this day will mark a turning point for the better and for those who work here, my Father and my God let it be well with them. Take care of their families and let Your healing power flow through them. I pray Lord God Almighty that this day will begin a new time of testimonies of signs and wonders, not only in this hospital, but also in all the hospitals in Lagos State and all those who are present here. If they have any form of ailment at all, heal them all in Jesus name. We unveil this plaque in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, God bless you.”
Attributing the trail blazing growth of Apapa Family as a result of the annual EXCEL Conference to the power of sple dour of the Almighty God which has blessed million, Adeboye charged the leadership not to rest on their oars, because “we have achieved so much but then we have hardly scratched the surface. We thank God for the giant strides but there is still much land to be conquered. Our only option is to increase the tempo and overcome all mountains standing in the way.”
Speaking at the inauguration and handing over of the unit and the equipment, Iluyomade explained the rational behind the donation, saying it was part of the church’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), mantaining that it has become imperative for individuals and corporate organisations to assist the Nigerian government because the demands of the people, especially in terms of the provision of critical infrastructure, need everybody’s attention and involvement.
According to him, the church has been partnering the Lagos State government in the area of health, to ensure that quality healthcare is accessible to all that needed it.
“We believe that one of the duties of the church is to serve God and humanity; this is just another milestone in our corporate social responsibility projects. We have been serving the state, most especially, in the last 10 years; we have mobile clinics, hospitals and we feed people in the state.
“We want to ensure that the people are healthy and have access to good quality healthcare,” he stated, stressing that in the last 10 years, the group driven by the desire to impact lives and trasforming host communities at home and abroad Apapa Family has engaged in more external impact projects hinged on eight cardinal areas of need.
“We have made giant strides in the area of social, healthcare, education, media, business and economy, arts, culture and entertainment, government and politics, and sports—SHEMBAGS—which we have recognised as the eight spheres of spiritual governance,” Pastor ID, as he is fondly called, explained.
No doubt the generosity of the Apapa Family is helping to build new friendships, as the group which started 26 years ago with about 6,000 members now can boast of a membership of over 200,631 every Sunday in 12 provinces spread across 29 countries of the world. Speaking on the theme of this year’s edition, “The Pains and Gains of Change,” Pastor ID noted that success in any human endeavour involves pushing “yourself beyond the limit, and this applies to both mundane things like wanting to loose weight, to lofty ideals of excelling in life. Achieving greatness comes with pain, and pain is what separates the great from the mediocre.”
Responding on behalf of the Chief Medical Director, Prof. David Adewale Oke, who was unavoidably absent, the Director, Hospital Administration & Human Resources, Mrs. Olatokunbo Adio commended the church especially the Apapa Family for preaching the “gospel of Jesus Christ, ensuring lives are saved and is passionate to give back to the society and to touch the souls of the less privileged spiritually, physically, and otherwise irrespective of religion, region or race.
“We particularly appreciate the Apapa Family who keep reaching out to the less privileged by renovating and equipping the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital. May the Lord in His infinite mercies reward your labour of love as He has promised in the book of Hebrews 6:10,” the CMD stated.
Also speaking, the Head, Department of Anesthesia and ICU, LASUTH, Dr Adetinu Majekodunmi, appealed to public spirited Nigerians to come to the aid of the hospital, pointing out: “Some of our equipment need to be upgraded and some structural changes made; the ventilators and monitors need to be upgraded and we need additional beds in the Critical Care Unit.
“The way forward is making sure that the equipment donated are serviced and maintained and other essential things needed to be put in the unit are provided for”.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Health Service Commission, Dr. Bayo Aderiye, said that government was addressing the area of human capacity as it was currently recruiting health personnel, adding that the idea is to make sure all the hospitals have enough personnel so that the problem of shortage will be solved once and for all; “it is a continuous exercise. Employing more personnel will help a lot in discipline; when workers are stressed or over worked, there is this human tendency to do some things they ought not to do.”
In a brief interview, the head of the Intensive Care Unit, Dr. Majekodunmi Adetinuwe, explained the duties of those in the unit, saying: “We take care of patients that are critically ill; patients that are more sick than normal; patients that have problems with breathing, patients that are very ill. We also receive victims of road accident with very serious cases that need to be operated on in operating room and recover in a monitor room.”
On what the church has donated, Dr. Adetinuwe said: “First of all, they renovated the facility: that is all the doors, windows, and toilet facilities were changed, tiling the floor. Then, the equipment they donated include four state-of-the-art monitors that can do critical monitoring…they also donated four state-of-the-art beds, mattresses. It will increase the level of care we are providing for the patients before now.” She thanked the church for the gesture. “We are saying a big thank you to the Redeemed Christian Church of God. That we can give our patients a standard of care better than we were doing before and in view of the machines that were here, now they can be moved to other areas that didn’t have monitoring. Now, we have four monitoring machines that can be used in other areas of the hospital.”
Asked to speak on how the equipment would be maintained, she said: “we hope that maintenance would be a responsibility of the government and the hospital.”
Earlier in a message read on his behalf by a former Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Femi Pedro, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode expressed gratitude for the giant strides RCCG through the Apapa Family has achieved in the state, which are aimed at not only addressing the spiritual but also the physical needs of worshippers.
“I have noted with deep sense of satisfaction that over the past few years, the theme has revolved around change. The theme for 2015 was ‘Riding on the wings of change,’ last year, it was ‘Sustaining change,’ and for the 10th edition, the theme is ‘The pains and gains of change.’ The aptness and relevance of these themes can be justifiably located in the change mantra of the current political administration in Nigeria. It also resonates with the global wind of change that has altered the status quo worldwide,” Ambode said.
While congratulating the Apapa Family for the milestone, Ambode acknowledged that the annual EXCEL conference has provided a platform for people of diverse backgrounds to be empowered and inspired through insightful and thought provoking events.
It will be recalled that 26 years ago, the RCCG General Oveseer, Pastor Adeboye, mandated 50 workers to go to Surulere in Lagos and find people like themselves and give them a church they would want to worship in. That team of ardent worshippers, mostly young, educated professionals was led by Pastor Tony Rapu who, stepping out in faith in answering the call of God for their lives, launched out into the deep on Sunday, May 5, 1991.
Unable to get a suitable venue in Surulere, the group started out at Roxy Cinema, Apapa. It was from this erstwhile notorious centre of seedy activities that the Apapa Parish grew, spawning what is now known as the Apapa Family, with parishes in Nigeria and the diaspora comprising of 14 provinces in Lagos, two provinces in Oyo State with several other parishes across the six continents of the world.