An eye paient, Oyefisade Semiu

Favour Kindness and Grace Foundation, recently came to the rescue of 220 patients that were brought from Osun State for eye-related problems to Eye Foundation Hospital, Ijebu-Mushin, Ogun State, where they were treated free of charge, courtesy of the foundation. Femi Ogbonnikan was at the hospital, reports

Jolted by the poor financial status of the patients for their inability to have access to proper medicare, succour has come the way of no fewer than 220 eye patients that were brought from Osun State and have been treated free of charge.

The patients that were suffering from various eye problems received free treatment at Eye Foundation Community Hospital, Ijebu Mushin, in Ijebu North-East Local Government Area of Ogun State, where the facilities are available, between Tuesday, February 27, 2018 and Tuesday, March 6, 2018, courtesy of Favour Kindness and Grace Foundation.

According to the initiator/facilitator of the foundation, Omo Oba Dotun Babayemi, out of 7,000 eye patients from 10 local governments and 14 cities across Osun West Senatorial district were diagnosed, in order to ascertain their eye status, while only 220 patients were certified to have glaucoma, cataract and other forms of eye problems and were brought to the Eye Foundation Community Hospital, Ijebu-Mushin for treatment.

Few of the beneficiaries of the free eye treatment commended Babayemi for his kindness and also prayed for his long life and success in all his endeavours.

Luckily, the story of a seven-year-old boy later turned to joy. It was gathered that, if the young boy hadn’t been brought to the hospital for diagnosis and subsequent surgery, he was on the verge of getting blind completely.
Speaking one after another, Mr. Shamseldeen Solagbade who was full of life after receiving the treatment, recalled how the ailment began two years ago. He suffered cataract in his two eyes.

“I am 55 years old. I am a farmer by profession. I hail from Oke-Ola Area of Ikire, in Irewole Local Government Area of Osun State. The eye problem started two years ago. I had visited many hospitals within our community but there were no solution to it. I had spent nothing less than N90,000 on drugs for the treatment of the two eyes. Whenever I visited these hospitals they kept on asking me to go and be buying drugs, in order to relieve me but there were no improvement because I hardly saw either in the daylight or at night.

“But last year when Omo Oba Dotun Babayemi and his people visited us last year in Ikire, I was among those that made themselves available for the free eye treatments brought to Ikire because I had already lost hope and had resigned to fate. We were diagnosed and they subsequently assured us that they would soon get back to us. So, this is what we are witnessing today. We were all brought from Osun State to this place (Eye Foundation Hospital) for treatment.

“Today, I have been treated and my joy knows no bound. I am exceedingly grateful for the intervention of Babayemi and I pray, may he never lack.

“Since Monday we have been here, we have been eating free meals. Even a relation each one of us were asked to come along with us, in case we may need them on errands, we were also lodged in a hotel here in Ijebu-Mushin free of charge, courtesy of Babayemi. Meals too, he is the one responsible for them,” said Solagbade.

Pa Ezekiel Olalere Ajayi, a 911 lorry driver of House No. 61A, Owo-Ope, Ajegunle Area of Gbongan, in Aiyedade Local Government Area of Osun State, expressed delight for the treatment. He said the problem started five years ago with a single eye gradually getting blind. The 74-year-old man situated the problem to his right eye to flashlight at night.

“I am a lorry driver. I use to go to my clients’ farmlands to convey oranges and banana because the business is always done at night. So, it was the flashlights from my colleague drivers’ vehicles at nights that really affected my right eye.

“I had visited the University Teaching Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State capital, for the treatment and it improved a bit. Cataract was identified as the problem. No sooner had I treated the right eye and I returned fully to my trade than the second eye, the left side, began having problems. I had spent nothing less than N60,000 on that.
“But today, I am the most happiest man on earth. I thank Omo Oba Babayemi for this initiative because he has helped me in lifting my burden. The doctors here have operated me and I have been assured that I will be better in no few distance period. The doctors have advised me to get a black sun glass but Babayemi has promised to give us free of charge,” said Pa Ajayi.

Also, Chief Sulaimon Akingbade could not conceal his happiness.
According to the 70-year-old farmer from Ikoyi, in Isokan Local Government Area of Osun State, he developed cataract in his right side.

“The eye problem began four years ago and I had spent nothing less than N40,000. Any hospital I visual they would prescribe drugs for me to go and buy.

“A surgical operation had been carried out on the affected eye at the theatre and you could see that I was just coming to the ward.

“I am happy for this singular act, for the gesture that Babayemi has extended to me. I pray, he will continue to succeed in whatever he lays his hands upon,” said Pa Akingbade.
Oyefisade Semiu, also a beneficiary of the free eye treatment, noted that he had once visited a clinic in Osun State where he had been detected to have cataract.

“I am 48 years old. I am a farmer. I hail from Ikoyi, in Isokan Local Government Area of Osun State. The problem with my two eyes started a year ago. It began with a year before the other one was affected. I had visited a number of hospitals in Osun State but there was no solution. I couldn’t see both day and night. The worst period was when the sunlight was shinning. I couldn’t see at all. I had spent over N80,000 on drugs before this intervention came.
“Now, I have been operated upon at the surgical room and I have been assured that I would regain my sight to normal. I am just grateful to God for using Omo Oba Babayemi to reach out to me,” Semiu said.

While giving the rationale behind the gesture, Babayemi who is the son of the immediate past monarch of Gbongan, OLUFI, in Aiyedade Local Government Area of Osun State, noted the eye problem of his maternal mother who was 87 years in 2007, jolted and spurred him to wanting to come to the thousands of people that are suffering from eye-related ailment.
He stated that the health outreach began four years ago, with the first two years earmarked for the treatment of advanced glaucoma and the others at the preliminary stages. Those with advanced glaucoma, he noted, have been advised, at the Eye Foundation Hospital, against undergoing surgeon, a development the medical experts, say are detrimental to their health. Rather, Babayemi said the 15 patients with advanced glaucoma had been taken to the Ikorodu, Lagos State branch of the Eye Foundation Hospital to undergo ‘B’ scan and that they have as well been placed on drugs as the only remedy, on account of their special case.

The eye patients at the preliminary stages, Babayemi, a lawyer by profession, said have undergone surgery. Besides, he said the latter part of the two years have been earmarked for the general well-being.

“We began with testing their blood pressure. We resorted to evaluation for respective communities within the purview of Osun West senatorial district to assist us. We also set up a mobile clinic in collaboration with the Faculty of Clinical and Health Services of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.

“In 2017, we visited 14 cities where 27,000 eye patients registered with us. Out of these figures, 300 patients were referred for eye investigations. Here at Eye Foundation Hospital, Ijebu-Mushin, Ogun State, they have facilities for the treatment of prostrate cancer, malaria and HIV positive patients.”

He said the patients were brought to Ijebu-Mushin, as a result of the availability of facilities that are obtainable at the premier hospital, that can compare and also compete favourably with those in United States of America, United Kingdom and other developed countries.

Besides, Babayemi stated that his foundation has so far distributed well over 14,200 pair of eye glasses to the beneficiaries in the last five years to aid the poor people of Osun West district that are suffering from various forms of eye problems and who can’t afford the spectacles.
He, however, underscored the importance of eyes as the light of the body; a development which spurred him on to initiate the foundation.

Babayemi added that his foundation will in July organise a mega medicare fare in 15 locations in Osun State that will last for a period of 30 days for the treatment of other various general health challenges of the indigenes of Osun West district.

“By and large, the output from the outreach is well over 300 people who have been referred for further investigations, relating to their eyes. So, we are here for a week, while we expect to have three days of surgery and the remaining days to observe them, after which we will return them safely to their various homes in Osun State.

When we started five years ago, we began with community outreach. We used to meet them periodically, especially during annual festivities. We would go to the grassroots and interface with the people. Apart from this health programme, we introduced skills acquisition development programmes, like tutorial classes for students preparing for their West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) and JAMB. We also had 400 students that were offered educational sponsorship programmes to various tertiary institutions. Also, we have football tournament in a bid to take off the boys from the streets and give them opportunities to express themselves,” said Babayemi.