Life offers no guarantees to anyone; good and bad things happen to everyone at some point in their lives irrespective of their status. On March 13th 2019, we awoke to the rude shock of the news that a three storey building had collapsed somewhere in Lagos Island precisely Ita Faaji. The sad news hit home more when we read that about 18 people died, scores homeless and stranded.
With fear and trepidation, a lot of people wondered what they could do to help. Help is good but well-coordinated help makes more impact.
Health Hub Africa
I was elated to see a group of health professionals come together and galvanize the public into action. I am proud to say I belong to that group. The group is made of forward thinking young health professionals from every sector of the healthcare space and trying to solve the Nigerian healthcare puzzle one piece at a time.
From the social media drive and campaign, the Hub together with Heal for Africa realized the sum of N1,049,800. This was excluding other donations that came in kind including wheelchair, crutches, soap, indomie cartons among others.
From this amount, the sum of N482,200 was spent on providing support for Ita Faji victims. Support ranged from payment of medical bills, cash relief to some victims, purchase and donation of medical consumables to some of the hospitals that were involved in treating the victims.
There was continued support of victims until most of the victims were discharged from the different hospitals.
Fast forward to December 2019, along came a spider named COVID 19 in faraway Wuhan, China, and the spider arrived Nigeria February 28th, 2020. There was a glaring need to support our healthcare facilities especially those working in the front lines. They needed to be adequately protected against this new virus that no one currently understood because there was little knowledge about it.
After consultations with stakeholders, Health Hub Africa, we identified four facilities namely:
▪ General hospital, Gbagada, Lagos
▪ Oyo Isolation Centre, Ibadan
▪ FCT Isolation Centre, Abuja
▪ Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH),Zaria.
The balance of N567,684 was spent to buy PPEs for these facilities to be distributed equally which also included items like facemasks, gloves, hand sanitizers, shoe covers, hair covers among others were purchased for healthcare workers in these facilities.
What lies ahead?
I am definitely full of optimism of what the future holds. Things will get better in Nigeria for Nigerians if only we all play our parts from our leaders down to the citizens. I am glad that a group like Health Hub Africa exists and taking leaps on stride at a time.
They remind me that after all said and done, we are humans first above all.
Dr Ronald Ikpe (MBBS, MSc)
CEO MRI Medic