•…7-year-old woman burst into tears on receiving eye drop, glasses
…Says “ I have not been able to save money to buy eye glass for two years
By Evelyn Usman
They trooped into one o f the largest halls in Ochaid hotel, Lekki, Lagos, in twos , threes and above, with each having glaring looks of one health challenge or the other. Some were aided by their relatives while others managed to walk down to the hall, upon alighting from the tricycles and motorbikes that conveyed them there.
Inside the hall were both old and young men, women and children. The crowd cuts across religion and ethnic divide, with some of them coming from communities around Lekki , Ajah and beyond. These visitors, some of who were indigent, sat patiently, waiting to be attended to.
The occasion was that of free medical treatment organized by St. James Anglican Church, Ikota, Diocese of Lagos, as part of activities to mark its third year anniversary. The medical outreach process started with registration, to ascertain the age of the beneficiaries, to screening , to determine their ailments and treatments.
Sexagenarian bursts into tears
Eye tests were also conducted , with eye drops and eye glasses given to those who needed them. One of the beneficiaries , a 67-year-old woman burst into tears when she received the eye drop and pair of glasses. Asked why she became emotional, she revealed that she had longed to get a pair of eye glass for two years, without being able to afford it.
She further stated that three weeks ago, the itching in her eyes became unbearable but that she could not buy the eye drops that would subside it.
In tears, the woman, Mrs Abosede Shonuola, said, “ I will forever remain grateful for this gesture because it came at a time I really needed it. I was told to get a pair of eye glass for my eyes, two years ago but the money with which to get it delayed me till date. As days went by the itching and resultant pains became severe. It aggravated three weeks ago and I resigned myself to fate. Just as I was thinking of what to do, a friend who went to take care of her daughter that was delivered of a baby, called to inform me of this free eye test. She told me to borrow N1000 from anyone to come here , as I live in Okokomaiko, promising to give me back. And here I am , with the eye drop and eye glasses, free of charge. This is great”.
Another beneficiary who simply gave his name as Francis, said, “I came here because I heard there was free health treatment. I came because of my eyes. But by the time I went through the medical screening, the result showed that my blood pressure was high. They gave me some drugs , a pair of glasses and a Bible. I also underwent a section of counseling. I have been going to hospital because of my eyes but never a time have I received free treatment .
r-old woman, Mrs Elizabeth Kimara, expressed shock that such project was being carried out in high brow area like Lekki, where everyone was considered to be on his or her own. She said she benefitted from the free eye drop and pair of eye glasses, adding that a neighbor informed her of the free medical treatment.
On his part, 67-year-old Ekwe Michael, who also got a pair of free eye glasses and eye drop, appreciated the church for its effort at ensuring that the poor got access to free medical treatment.
Vicar of the church, Rev. Okey Ikeri, explained that aside the free medical treatment, the church would also distribute food items to everyone. He stated that the initial number targeted was 500. But as at 11am , the number of those present, was over 900.
There were over 15 medical personnel on ground to attend to the teeming population. One of them, Dr. George Ojukwu, said aside eye test and related treatments, cases like malaria, pneumonia, diabetes, cancer and hypertension among others were also being attended to, adding that patients with severe ailments were referred to specialist hospitals for treatment.
He said: “At the end of the outreach today, we want to achieve a number of objectives among which are , reaching out to people and achieving some acute cases. Many people here have no health insurance and this is the only opportunity to sit with the doctor and have a comprehensive check .We want to be able to talk to them about some illnesses we are addressing , like cancer and non communicable diseases”.
Health talks on breast cancer , cervical cancer and prostate cancer were also conducted.