By Josephine Agbonkhese
While the challenge of living without limbs might be enough burden for an amputee, more depressing is the inability to own enough money to acquire some prosthetics despite their availability in the country, due to the cost.
On the average, an artificial limb costs between N550,000 to upwards of tens of millions of naira. That’s aside the cost of visiting a fitting centre between three to five times over a period of two to three months, which alone adds up to between N200,000 to N800,000 to the total cost.
It was to cushion the effect of this harsh reality on indigent women and children in the country that the Rotary Club of Lagos Island has deemed it imperative to provide over 1,000 indigent amputees, including women and children, with free artificial limbs.
Announcing this during his installation ceremony as 3rd President of the Club, Lagos-based Indian entrepreneur, Raj Kumar Gulati, said this will be implemented in partnership with the Tolaram Foundation, the Rotary Club of Singapore and a global grant from Rotary International.
Speaking further at the event which drew together the crème de la crème of the Indian community in Nigeria, Gulati listed other projects to be executed in the next one year, adding that the artificial limb project was also carried out by his predecessor.
“To combat cataract, in association with Geeta Ashram Lagos, we are planning to carry out free cataract eye surgeries in Lagos and Kano for the underprivileged as well. To address youth unemployment through entrepreneurship in the country, and eradicate poverty, we are also joining hands with corporate organisations and individuals to equip underprivileged Nigerians with vocational training skills. Other activities planned include distribution of food, clothing and shelter to needy communities, establishment of six blood donation camps in association with the Nigerian Red Cross Society to save lives and then the rehabilitation of two schools over a period of five years to make them Rotary Model Schools.
Expressing his expectations concerning the club, the Governor, Rotary International District 9110, Kola Sodipo, said, “Coincidentally, the Rotary Club of Lagos Island is now the largest club in Africa with well over 150 members. They did a lot last year, so I don’t have any doubt in my mind that in this Rotary year, they would also do great work in the service to humanity.”
Noting that one of the key objectives for Rotary International is service to humanity, Sodipo said for this Rotary year, the district will focus on three core areas: health, education and youth empowerment.
He stated: “In the area of health, we plan to partner both Lagos and Ogun State governments to rehabilitate some identified primary health centres and also equip them with basic medical needs.
Others who spoke at the event which featured a high-end cultural dance performance by teenage Indian girls, included the outgoing President, Rotary Club of Lagos Island, Sanjeev Tandon, who shared his experience and reeled out projects executed, and the Chairman, Installation Committee, Vipul Agrawal, who described Gulati as an ‘inspiration’ president.