The Caring Heart Foundation run by Hon. Linus Abaa Okorie, the member representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo federal constituency, recently addressed the health and welfare needs of the vulnerable and less-privileged. Benjamin Nworie writes

For the past five weeks, the Caring Heart Foundation has been inundated with activities and programmes geared towards providing essential and welfare services to the people of Ebonyi State.

The foundation was the initiative of the member representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency, Hon. Linus Abaa Okorie, to empower his people. Since its existence, the foundation has remained the rallying point and platform to reach out to his constituents and execute most of his programmes.

Caring Heart Foundation was founded in 2010 as a platform to empower and assist the downtrodden, aged and vulnerable children and also uplifts the welfare of his people. It has also engaged in the provision of social services like installation of electricity, the building of schools, bridges, youth empowerment, and succour to widows and scholarships to indigent students. About 1,000 persons have also been trained in various agricultural skills and products value chains.

He has embarked on the completion of a one thousand seating capacity examination hall started by Onicha Christian Women Forum at Community Secondary School Agunkwo in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

At the handover ceremony at the secondary school premises, Okorie explained that he took over the project to contribute his quota to the educational development of the community.

THISDAY gathered that the construction of the one thousand seating capacity examination hall was embarked upon by Onicha Igboeze Christian Women Forum in 2012 with the aim of providing the final year students of the school a comfortable hall to undertake their examinations and engage in other academic activities.

However, seven years down the line the, hall is yet to be completed due to the paucity of funds as explained by the President General Onicha Igboeze Christian Women Forum, Mrs. Doris Chukwu, at the handover ceremony.

In February 2018, Caring Heart Foundation flagged off its free monthly medical and welfare programmes at Akaeze. The success of the programme was extraordinary. Over 600 women, aged men and women, children and pregnant mothers trooped out en mass to access medical services. It was a glorious day for the beneficiaries. Many of them were diagnosed with various ailments. The medical team of AMURT group was in high spirit attending to the crowd one by one.

The Ebonyi State deputy governor, Barrister Kelechi Igwe represented the governor, David Umahi in the flag off. Thrilled by the development, the governor expressed optimism that the gesture of the lawmaker to provide medical outreach to his constituency would spur other National Assembly members from the state to emulate it, adding that Okorie was the only federal lawmaker that has brought leadership and politics to his people.

Umahi said: “Men have been going to National Assembly before Hon. Linus Okorie but I’m sure they never brought these to your people. Linus Okorie is the only lawmaker that remembers that he’s coming from somewhere. I am also aware that he is not the only one that was sent to Abuja by the people of Ebonyi State but I am standing on the land of Akaeze to throw it as a challenge to all the members of the National Assembly from Ebonyi State, that we expect that from time to time, they will call us as state government to come and witness the programmes that they have developed for their people.

“I believe that what we are doing here is bringing down leadership and politics to the grassroots that people may be able to understand why you are always enjoined to look for a credible candidate to vote for in election because when you vote them into power whether the chamber is green or red, they will remember that they are coming from somewhere.

“So, Linus Okorie, we are grateful to you and we are pleased that you are doing what you are doing. If we have our way, we will say you are already there in 2019. We say so as state government but we will still leave you in the hands of your people who will determine your fate and say he has related so well with us and deserves to go back to Abuja.”

The free medical outreach is expected to cover the 10 clans in the constituency. It includes: Akaeze, Ishiagu, Uburu, Okposi, Ugwulangwu, Abaomege, Ukawu, Oshiri, Isu and Onicha. It is also billed to end by November, 2018. At the end of each clan, the foundation raps it up with church thanksgiving where welfare items were being given to indigent women and cash donation for the churches.

He added that each outreach shall be hosted at designated government owned health centres in each clan.

Okorie said: “The Linus Okorie Caring Heart Foundation has initiated a constituency wide-free medical and welfare outreach programme to address the health and welfare needs of Ohaonivo. The medical outreach consists of two partners: AMURT Foundation. This team focuses exclusively on pregnant women and under-five children.

“Coalition of Professionals, the team engages all other groups including the elderly, young adults and older children, men and women. Services to be rendered include free registration, free laboratory investigations, free doctors’ check and treatment of common illnesses, free ultrasound scan for pregnant women, free drugs and free ambulance referral.

“The foundation shall also be making a donation of some basic health consumables like needles, syringes, gloves and cleaning liquids to each host health centre visited. The welfare outreach is a programme that will see us worshipping each month from February to November 2018 in a local church, selected by the CAN/Ministers Forum leadership of each clan. It will typically hold on the Sunday after each medical outreach.

“The foundation will in the course of each worship distribute some welfare materials such as foodstuff, wrappers and cash support to selected widows and other indigent persons to be nominated by the church leaders of the clan hosting the church. We will also render some support to the local church. These programmes have been designated to hold on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month and already stated last February 17/18 2018 at Akaeze, Ivo LGA, and will end in November 2018 at Onicha, Onicha LGA.”

He, therefore, called on everyone to kindly join the train of making a success of his programme as it was his hope that the little effort would positively impact on some of the poor and needy in the society

At Akaeze, the programme was a huge success. This undoubtedly may be the first of its kind. The impact was extraordinary, hence the case of one Master Emmanuel Sunday. He is the little two-month-old boy who was presented with a serious anomaly to warrant doctors to refer him as an emergency case to the Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki on February 17.

At the FETHA, he was diagnosed with intussusception of the small intestines. This was explained to be the twisting or blockade of the small intestines resulting in the constriction of the blood supply to the affected areas. It was considered life-threatening, requiring urgent surgical intervention. The surgery was carried out on February 18, 2018 and reported successful to the relief of his empathisers and the mother. People heaved a sigh of relief and joy that Little Emmanuel could live again.

Emmanuel was to be discharged on February 24. But at last, that was not to be. On February 23, there came terrifying news that Emmanuel stitches suddenly broke and his entire guts or intestines swarmed out of his bowels. This was a devastating blow and a huge shock.

Accordingly, he was rushed back into the theatre and operated on again. For days, he was in excruciating pain and cried uncontrollably.

Worst of all, he was unable to take anything including his mother’s breast milk. Those were the days of extreme anguish and worry for the Caring Heart team that were involved in the case.

However, Emmanuel and the mother were discharged finally after a comprehensive assessment of his recovery and good health. The discharge coincided with the birthday of the lawmaker on March 9. Okorie hinted that Emmanuel’s recovery and discharge was the best birthday gift from God.

Okorie said: “And wait for it…Emmanuel was to be discharged on the 9th March, my very birthday. Even if Master Emmanuel recovery ends up the only success of our programme across our 10 clans in the federal constituency. His life, which God allowed the privilege of contributing to, is worth more than all the money in this world and every effort and commitment to the entire outreach programme.”

The foundation also intervened in the pathetic and painful story of an octogenarian woman in Ogidi Akaeze in Ivo Local Government Area. She is Mrs. Elizabeth Nwgoke. Aged 87, Ngwoke is a mother of 10 children but lost nine to the cold hands of death.

The only surviving son left the village for about seven years now and never returned nor called his mother. The old woman had no shelter on her head. Her mud house was leaking in all the corners, while the walls were deeply cracked as if it had suffered a natural disaster. In all the seasons, she had no choice than to stay under the rain or scourge of the sun while mosquitoes feast on her every night due to no door or window. Yet this woman had not located succour anywhere. She was abandoned by villagers and relatives.

However, on watching the video of the plight of the woman which went viral on social media, the Caring Heart group launched an intensive search to locate the woman and rescue her from the scourge of poverty and helplessness. At last, the foundation also resolved to renovate her house immediately and sought other ways to provide succour for her.