By Ebun Sessou
Residents of Obalende and its environs can now easily access free medical check ups as well as health care services within their location as Guiding Light Assembly, GLA, under the leadership of Senior Pastor Wale Adefarasin, takes medical outreach to their doorsteps. The different locations include the mammy market, Obalende Local Government, Obalende Taxi park among others.
The medical outreach which takes place fortnightly has evolved from seeing very acutely ill patients to those with less life-threatening cases, most of whom are market women.
Speaking on the outreach, GLA Medical Team leader, Dr. Ernest Ekong said the church is committed to bringing good health to the underprivileged in Lagos using Obalende as a platform to reach as many people in the state as possible.” I willingly bought into the vision and accepted to lead the team. Honestly, it is rewarding to serve God through the people,” Dr. Ekong said.
According to him, without good health and sound mind, the nation stands the risk of under-development and stagnation since her citizens lack basic health provisions.
Nigeria is not immune to what is happening in the world, thus the nation also experiences shortfalls especially in the area of healthcare provision which has opened doors for individual organisations to contribute their quota to public healthcare.
Ekong explained that the free medical care focuses on health education on causes and prevention of communicable and childhood diseases like tuberculosis, hypertension, diabetes, infectious diseases, measles, tetanus, whooping cough, among others.
According to him: “Medical examination and dispensing of routine drugs including multivitamins, vitamin B complex, iron tablets, paracetamol, glucose, among others.
“We treat specific illnesses like malaria, pneumonia, chest infections, cough, hypertension, diarrhoea, asthma, fungal infections,” he said.
He said there is a referrals section on diabetes, tuberculosis, suspected HIV/AIDS cases and other sexually transmitted infections, surgical cases like hernia and appendicitis, incision and drainage for boils.
“We also provide care for gynecological cases; disease prevention strategies, psychological counselling and advice on smoking, weight loss and healthful living.
“The majority of our team members are not even health care workers, but volunteers whom we have trained to be able to take blood pressure and pulse, know the drug group and can pack in dispensing envelopes and give to patients depending on the prescription by the few doctors, nurses and pharmacists among us,” he said.
On the cost of the medical intervention to the church, Dr Ekong disclosed that the average cost is N1.5million per year.
“It costs us about N1.5 million annually to run the project. When you put this together since 2006, you can imagine how much has gone into this project,” he explained.
On churches establishing medical centres, Dr Ekong believe that setting up a hospital by a church organisation is not out of place and should be encouraged where possible.
“Healthcare should be part of the mission of the church just like the missionaries of old did. It is not just for the church to pray and hope for healing. I believe that faith should go with works. It is God that gives the medical doctors and other health care providers the knowledge to treat the people,” he stated.