By Emma Okonji
The MTN foundation, which gets its funding from one per cent of MTN’s profit after tax, has sponsored and supported over 50 patients from Nigeria with heart related diseases and other ailments to India for treatment in the last two years.
Portfolio Manager, Health, MTN Foundation, Mr. Abasi Ebong Udobong, dropped the hint in Lagos at a party organised by MTN for the recent batch of successful patients that just returned from India on a medical trip, courtesy of MTN Foundation.
The Foundation bears the total cost of medical bills, including cost of visa, return tickets, feeding, accommodation and logistics of the patients throughout the duration of their treatment in India.
According to him, the foundation had several cases of heart related diseases, with some of them having holes in their hearts. Over 20 of the successful patients were celebrated by MTN at the party, with several of them giving their testimonies and thanking God and MTN for intervening in their health cases.
Speaking on the selection process, Udobong said “we select children and adults that have serious health problems relating to heart diseases, fractures and other ailments. Some of the patients whose cases could be handled in Nigeria, had their treatments done in Nigeria, but the serious cases that could not be handled in the country were transferred to India for medical attention, and MTN Foundation takes responsibility of their expenses”
“We do not know all those that have benefitted from our medical intervention programme from inception, It is either they wrote us, visited us to lodge their health complaints, or we read and heard their stories from newspapers, magazines and television. We listen to them and do our selection process, based on the criteria for selection, Udobong said.
Asked why MTN preferred taking patients to India, instead of investing in Nigerian specialist hospitals, where the patients could get the same quality treatment, Udobong said the foundation also had medical support programme where it established 12 dialysis centres, and 5 Sickle Cell centres spread across the country, including eye care project, with full support from MTN Foundation.
At the party, some of the parents of the direct beneficiaries of MTN Foundation were full of praises for MTN and God Almighty for the health intervention project of the foundation.
One of the parents, a furniture maker who narrated his story, said his daughter was diagnosed of a hole in her heart and that he was looking at his daughter dying because he had no money for her treatment.
According to him, he was asked to get N2.5 million for the treatment of his little baby, but could not raise the money until he was advised by a friend to visit MTN Foundation, where he eventually got help. All beneficiaries present at the party, prayed for the survivability of MTN in Nigeria, to enable it continue in its good work of putting smiles on the faces of helpless Nigerians.