By Ngozi Nwoke
It was a two-day relief for the people of Amichi in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State recently, as residents of the community benefited from the free medical outreach and donation of drugs by a non-governmental organisation, Chisco Foundation.
Chisco Foundation is the brainchild of Chief. Dr. Chidi Anyaegbu, executive chairman and CEO of Chisco Group of Companies. The two-day free healthcare initiative was tagged, “Chisco Medical Mission 2023.”
Anyaegbu said he embarked on the outreach, currently in its eight edition, to give something back to society. He stated that, as a businessman, the best way to spend money was to make a positive impact on the lives of people through free medical outreach.
He said: “I chose to do this for my people in order to give them something in return. I love my people; I love them for their kind efforts and good neighbourliness. It has not been an easy task sustaining this programme over the years but by the grace of God, we have been doing this.
“The Chidi Anyaegbu Foundation also donated N100 million to Nnamdi Azikiwe University for the establishment of a transportation caculty. The foundation also donated a fully equipped hospital to Amichi community. All medicines and treatment will be given at an affordable cost.
“All these philanthropic gesture was inspired by the circumstances that surrounded my late mother’s death. My mother died due to the non availability of a good healthcare centre at that time. The doctors were quacks. By the time her illness deteriorated and we took her to a better hospital miles away, she had already passed. Otherwise, she may have still been alive till date.
” This is why I took the decision to render this selfless service to humanity. A lot of people have died avoidable deaths due to carelessness and human error in the hospitals. Some died due to lack of funds to get proper medical treatment and ended un the hands of these quacks.
“Nigerians are suffering and dying of various ailments. Some end up dying of the ailments because they can’t afford the medical costs. Nigerian doctors are intelligent. All they need is an enabling environment with quality equipment and regular power supply to practise their profession.
“I discovered there are no good healthcare centres in the Nnewi community. Most healthcare centres don’t have proper or functional equipment and people have died as a result of these inadequacies. This is why I decided to carry out the free medical outreach.”
The outreach was in collaboration with the Living Hope Ministries, a United States-based religious NGO, which came to distribute drugs and perform various surgeries. Over 50 medical practitioners were deployed from the US, comprising surgeons, gynaecologists, optometrists, opticians, paediatricians, nurses and paramedics.
Anyaegbu also pledged the continuation of the free medical outreach in the community, saying the foundation would continue to give hope to the hopeless.
Coordinator, Living Hope Ministries, Dr Sonny Acho, explained various functions of the drugs being distributed.
He said: “We are here to deal with all body ailments, ranging from hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, cataract and every other surgical ailment that requires operation.
“The outreach is also to create awareness on the dangers of self-medication, which can affect the kidney and other vital organs, as well as sensitise the people to adhere to strict prescriptions from medical experts.”
Acho also highlighted the categories of surgeries successfully performed. He said: “So far, we successfully carried out surgeries on 85 patients with hernia, lumps, tumours and goitre. Apart from operating on 74 eye patients with cataract, no fewer than 1,200 eyeglasses were given free of charge to patients with long sight and short sight-related problems.
“We thank the Chisco Foundation for providing us the opportunity to come all the way from the US to collaborate with the Foundation and also show our love and support to Nigerians. We are always ready to come and show our support.”
The surveillance officer of the World Health Organisation in Anambra State, Mr. Chukwuebuka Ugwu, said his organisation was pleased to be part of the programme.
“So far, the medical outreach has been tremendously successful. It has help curb the spread of diseases in the community. We also encourage the sponsors to continue in this manner and we assure them of our support anytime,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries of the outreach, Nkem Umeh, who was operated on, expressed gratitude to the sponsors for supporting the beneficiaries with free drugs and surgeries. He narrated his ordeal on how he was unable to afford the amount of money he was charged at the hospital.
“I am very happy and grateful to God for this opportunity, and I thank the sponsors,” he said.
Another beneficiary, Mrs. Calista Ndubuisi, noted that the free medical mission was a life-saver to the community and prayed for God’s blessings upon the benefactor.
“Chidi Anyaegbu Foundation has saved lots of lives in the community. A lot of people would have died from one ailment or the other because they don’t have the money to buy medicines or pay for surgery. Imagine how much people would have spent on surgeries, but Chief Anyaegbu sponsored them all for free. Over 100 surgeries were performed in the medical mission for free. The good prayers that people are saying for him is enough to keep him alive. God will surely bless and reward him and his family for this unforgettable kindness to us in Amichi.”