Guest writer, Sunday ADEPOJU, in this feature, chronicles the three-day free medical outreach for Ogbomoso residents organised by Ogbomoso First Community Initiative (O’First) in conjunction with Second Chance Smile Global Foundation (SCSGF), Ajagbe-Ajala Legacy and others.
Beyond the myriad of earlier organised development and empowerment programmes of a socio-cultural and humanitarian organisation, Ogbomoso First Community Initiative (O’First Group), its giant strides took another dimension as other international partners whose leaders are of Ogbomoso origin joined in the humanitarian services to the people of Ogbomoso and its environs.
The massive programme also had the representatives of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) from Abuja; National Agency for the Control of AIDS ( NACA) from Lagos/South-West zone; Bowen University Teaching Hospital (BUTH), Ogbomoso; LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso; medical personnel from Oyo State and local government areas in Ogbomoso in attendance.
On Monday, July 11, the medical personnel from the aforementioned areas had organised an interactive session, called ‘valued addition’, to intimate the officials on the modus operandi of the exercise. At the session, there were presentations by the NCDC, NACA and other personnel on the need to for residents of the community to halt the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 and other diseases.
At the three-day exercise, the NCDC and NACA made available 3,000 test kits and 3,000 test kits for COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS respectively. It was noted that hundreds of people who visited the venue also had the opportunity of knowing their statuses regarding the dreaded COVID-19 and, in some ways, HIV/AIDS.
Composed of like-minded, eminent Ogbomoso indigenes who have distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavours, O’First takes the issues affecting Ogbomoso as its first agenda.
Its members are found in law, media, administration, engineering, security, aviation, health, agriculture and education, with many of them retiring at the topmost echelon. As an instance, the present president of the group, Barrister Olusegun Adeyemi Adekunle, retired last year as Permanent Secretary, General Service Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) and is currently the coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
It is interesting to note that a United States-based organisation, Second Chance Smile Global Foundation (SCSGF), and Ajagbe-Ajala Legacy (AAL), in grand style, partnered the O’First in the three-day free medical outreach tagged “2021 Ajile Medical Dental Mission/Ogbomoso Community Health Fair,” which held between July 12 and 15, where over 3,000 people benefited from the medical care.
Barrister Adekunle, a relation of Brigadier General Benjamin Maja Adekunle (Black Scorpion) stressed on the opening day, “Today, we started this three-day medical outreach for the poor, the weak, the sick, the aged, and the vulnerable in our society. It is an outreach meant to bring awareness on health issues to support government to meet the expectations of the citizens. And to provide a platform to check their health status, receive consultation from medical experts, and receive referrals to tertiary health institutions – Bowen University Teaching Hospital (BUTH) and LAUTECH Teaching Hospital here in Ogbomoso – that are collaborating with us. There are doctors, nurses and other experts here with us, attending to people. We have about 200 medical personnel on ground.
“We have had over three thousand people who signified interest in receiving medical care. There is a pharmacy here to dispense drugs for free after people would have gone through all the consultations and tests. The NCDC donated over 3,000 rapid Abbott’s test kits. We have made the test mandatory for everybody passing through this process.”
Led by a United States-based dental surgeon, Professor Oluwole Ajagbe of Alokun Family in Aromole area of Ogbomoso, the SCSGF and AAL have been putting smiles on the faces of many Nigerians and, even, citizens outside Nigeria.
According to Professor Ajagbe, “We were just planning to organise a medical outreach when I was told of the efforts of the O’First Group to make lives bearable for the people of Ogbomoso. I learnt they have been doing wonderfully well in the areas of development, empowerment, infrastructure, among others.
Professor Ajagbe narrated, “When we were planning this partnership, I discovered that all of us had the same goal and aspiration, the love of Ogbomoso, our root. Therefore, Second Chance and O’First and other friends across the world sealed our agreement to help our people. In fact, helping our people means helping ourselves because we are one indivisible entity in our community here.
“The SCSGF has done similar programmes in many countries of the world like Spain, Haiti, the United States, among others. We have done so many of this programme in Nigeria here, too. It is a yearly programme. In 2018, we did in Ogun State. In 2019, we did in Sobe, Edo State. Sobe is a purely agrarian community.”
Asked on the progress of the Ogbomoso exercise so far, Professor Ajagbe explained, “I’m impressed because people really showed interest and they have received the gestures of our partnership and this is laudable. Buses have been conveying people from designated points like Okeelerin, Takie, Aromole and others. So many of the beneficiaries did not even wait for our buses; they came by themselves. I’m happy because everybody was attended to.”
The Maryland-based dental surgeon promised that there would be more massive programmes of this magnitude for the people of Ogbomoso.
In the meantime, the O’First pioneer president, present chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the group, Otunba Bayo Babatunde, who was the chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the outreach, commended every stakeholder in the exercise.
He said, “This is voluntary. We have a principal partner called the Second Chance Smile Global Foundation from the U.S. LAUTECH and Bowen University Teaching hospitals also volunteered to render services. And they have all been wonderful in the discharge of their volunteered duties. Yesterday (Monday), there was a kind of training on the operations of the training and the use of Abbott’s testing kits for COVID-19.
“Some people have been diagnosed of a particular disease. This is an outreach, though. We have given them a remedial care. Tests on HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and others were carried out during the outreach.”
The Secretary of the O’First Group, Justice (Mrs) Funmi Ashaolu, said, “When we formed O’First, we had in mind the development of Ogbomoso. Now, we are focused on health and this is what we are doing. What gives us joy, as a group, is the smile that fills people’s faces.
At designated points in the metropolis, there was also provision of vehicles to convey beneficiaries to the venue of the programme, O’First Centre, Oke Osuru, Ogbomoso. Over time, there have been widespread publicity on electronic, print, and social medial platforms, calling on people to avail themselves of the benefits that the organisers bring to the door-steps of Ogbomoso residents.”
In particular, a programme anchored by a journalist, writer and communication consultant, Mr Sayo Alagbe, aired on Ajilete 92.1 FM and sponsored by the O’First Group, drew people’s attention to the humanitarian gestur of the organisers. Again, many religious organisations also promoted the exercise.
Similarly, the organisers recognised the need to ensure the good health of security operatives in any community. Therefore, they allotted two hours of each day of the programme to attend to the operatives of the Nigeria Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other para-military officers in the metropolis.
Interestingly, lectures on good hygiene, natural food, and other healthy living tips by health professionals were included in the three-day exercise to acquaint the beneficiaries with best health practices.
Earlier this year, O’First inaugurated a massive behavioural action care centre, a clinic where addicts of drugs and other substances are treated at Lagbami Osekun Layout, Oke Osuru, Ogbomoso.
Also, the group empowered residents of the community by distributing various equipment for vocations free of charge.
In the same vein, the group, through its members’ positions in many spheres in the country, has facilitated projects to Ogbomoso to improve the people’s living conditions.
●Adepoju, a journalist and media consultant/researcher, writes via firstname.lastname@example.org