Providing Healthcare to the Underserved

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Ivy Nwaeze writes that the Good Samaritan Ministry of the Glory Worship Center of the Redeemed Christian Church of God recently partnered the Labours of Love Mission, an American-based nongovernmental organisation, to carry out a free medical outreach to those who do not have access to good healthcare and also provide preventive health education for the underserved

For the past five years, the Good Samaritan Ministry of the Glory Worship Center of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in partnership with the Labours of Love Mission has kept the faith with its free medical outreach. Launched in 2014, the annual outreach is targeted at reaching the hosts in their respective communities where they have satellite churches.

Although the zonal church, with its membership of 1,300 is located at Sabo, Yaba, and is headed by Pastor Tope Akinbola, its five satellite branches and parishes spans from Yaba to Makoko, Bariga and Ijesha.

This year, the free medical outreach was held on August 30 and 31 at the zonal headquarters at 322 Murtala Muhammed way Sabo, Yaba. However, its five satellite churches and parishes which are City of Refuge located at Indian Quarter Railway Compound Yaba; Everlasting Father Parish located at 1, Mccullum Street off Murtala Muhammed way, Yaba; Glory Worship Centre extension located at 22, Makoko road, car wash Makoko Yaba; Glory Worship Centre extension located at 36, Ilaje Road Bariga and Sought out Tabernacle located at 14, Shodipe street Abule Ijesha, all participated.

According to the Chairman of the Good Samaritan Ministry, Elder Gbolahan Ojora, said the ministry is in charge of assisting the congregation, neighbourhood and society meet their spiritual, material, medical and financial needs, adding that this is part of bearing one another’s burden and bringing them into the kingdom in line with the scripture.

This year’s medical outreach was centered on free cervical cancer screening for 500 women, prostrate cancer screening for the men, health talk, medical consultation, free drugs, eye checks and then free glasses for those that need it.

They had in attendance 13 medical volunteers which comprises one medical doctor, one general practitioner, six pharmacists, one mental health specialist and psychologist, one obstetric and gynecologist, one pulmonologist, a nurse in training and one chiropractor.

After the free medical checks, patients tested positive to prostrate cancer and cervical cancers were further treated by the Good Samaritan Ministry through NGOs associated to RCCG.

Ojora noted that in as much as the funding for the yearly free medical outreach was borne by the members of Good Samaritan Ministry and the Labours of Love Mission, part of their major challenges include creating awareness, procurement of local drugs, logistics like transportation, honorarium for the volunteers like medical practitioners, feeding and accommodation of the Labours of Love Mission teams.

For Founder of Labour of Love Mission, a non-profit organisation in the United States with members spread across the world, Dr Olujoke Jones, the vision of the NGO is to serve the population who do not have access to good medical care and also provide preventive health education like good nutrition, blood pressure control, weight management and lots more.

The NGO was founded in 2014 and partners political organisations, missions, schools and communities but the Glory Missions Centre is their main anchor. Jones said the services are provided just for Nigerians as a way of giving back to her country Nigeria, but would be extended in due time to other countries.

She mentioned that some of the problems encountered during the yearly medical outreach is hitches encountered while getting visas for the volunteers. She went on to request that the government look into this as they are helping Nigerians.

A resident in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, a medical volunteer, Dr Gladys Ohiomoba, applauded the Good Samaritan Ministry on how smooth the medical outreach went and that the volunteering health workers were friendly. She however mentioned her major challenges as communication barriers as most of the patients are from low social economics background.

She also mentioned that she had a challenge diagnosing an elderly patient as she complained of black patch on her thigh but was not willing to pull off her cloth for examination. She had to refer her to see a dermatologist.

Mrs Ojoawo Orebowale, a member of RCCG Peace Parish, Ilasamaja, but who came as a patient and was treated during the free medical outreach, expressed her gratitude on the seamless process and ability to be seen by a doctor. She noted that she was given medication for her illness.

One Mrs. Adewale, a patient from the neighbourhood, was glad that she was opportune to be part of the 500 women who was tested for the cervical cancer and when the result was reviewed she was negative. She was also reviewed by the Chiropractor of a long back pain. She was treated and shown procedure on how to give herself first aid when the back pain occurs again.

One of the highlights of the outreach was Mrs Abimbola Owuchekwa, a member of RCCG Glory Worship Center, a cervical cancer survivor, who was part of the first beneficiaries of the free medical outreach. During the previous cervical cancer screening she was confirmed to have stage 1 cervical cancer, and was sponsored to go through the chemotherapy by the Good Samaritan Ministry and later vaccinated. This year, she was made the team lead of the cervical cancer screening in charge of creating awareness.

Dr Lynda, an Optometrist was glad to be part of the volunteer doctors to reach out to people who cannot afford proper eye test and reading glasses.
She mentioned that situations like glaucoma and cataract that require surgery are referred to an ophthalmologists for further investigation and for children they cannot carryout a refraction on them, so they are referred to health centers or a nearby clinic for further investigation.

Part of the mission of the Good Samaritan Ministry is to be burden bearers to one another and this is done by paying of school fees for people, assisting many in securing jobs, getting accommodation for people, medical outreach and CSR programs like sanitation,evacuation of sands in the drainages, organising competitive football matches and medical check up for the football team members in the neighbourhoo, using a mobile clinic to carryout medical check up at high density populated areas which lead to the planting of the Makoko Satellite Church.

During the medical outreach, the Good Samaritan Ministry ensured they met medical standards set by professional association by not allowing a non- pharmacists dispense drugs, a non-doctor consulting.

They currently have some medical cases which the ministry is currently handling some of which are ; a woman who was operated upon at the cost of over N2 million two years ago, the children are also being treated of an infection that has lasted for over two years. They were provided an accommodation, a help was gotten for them and the children were placed in a school with school pick up and drop off services.

Another case is a guy with a hole in the neck who was operated on at LUTH. Just as another case of a man whose leg is been strengthened at Igbobi in Lagos.

In all, the medical outreach reached and went beyond its goal of touching the lives of its immediate environment and the underserved.