Wife of Delta state governor, Dame Edith Okowa, has given hope to 25 patients who were discharged but could not pay their hospital bills at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, the Delta state capital.
Their faces beamed with smiles while some shed tears of joy and two others jumped up, danced round the premises as they heard their names mentioned and huge bills settled by the wife of the state governor.
A total of five million, one hundred thousand naira (N5.1million) was donated by good spirited individuals which Dame Okowa used to defray the bills of the patients and let them go.
She told the patients, management of the Federal Medical centre and others present, that the state government had no contribution in the venture as it was 100 percent the contribution of private and good spirited individuals.
Emerging facts indicated that some of the patients were in the hospital for two to three months after being discharged where some spent over nine months in hospital beds receiving treatment from doctors at the hospital.
The 25 patients had different ailments where some who had no one to take care of their bills were left in the hospital. Okowa’s wife told the crowd that gathered that the N5.1million was raised by good spirited persons within three days, between Sunday and Tuesday, prior to the event.
Speaking at the event, tagged International Day of Charity, Okowa’s wife said the charity day was instituted by the United Nations on September 5 to commemorate the death of Mother Theresa who worked tirelessly to reach out to the poor, noting that the event was set aside to increase solidarity, social responsibility, volunteerism and public support.
She said all over the world, people have needs and sometimes impossible to get help due to circumstances beyond their immediate control, adding that some with various health concerns are in the hospital they cannot afford to buy their drugs let alone pay their bills.
She said the event was not actually to make noise but to raise public awareness on the need for charity work, noting that being alive does not necessarily mean ‘we are the best but what we do today is what we will reap tomorrow.’
For her, it is not only the rich that should give help but every Nigerian should give as giving is a spirit that should be imbibed by all human beings.
Okowa’s wife who has been involved in charity works across Delta state, some of which were the free eye care given to Deltans who had suffered from cataract and other eye challenges, said the event was an opportunity to cash in to contribute ‘our quota to humanity.’
She said her driving force in all humanitarian works was a section of the Bible, Matthew Chapter 25: 35-36 which quotes “I was hungry and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me drink, I was a stranger and ye took me in, naked and ye clothed me, I was in prison and ye came to me.”
She commended the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, under the leadership of Dr. Victor Osiatuma, whom she said admitted and treated many of the patients without demanding for payment prior to attending to their health challenges.
Chief Medical Director of the FMC, Dr. Victor Osiatuma, commended Dame Okowa for her charity works across the state, saying she has been instrumental in assisting poor patients in the hospital.
He said she has been putting smiles on the faces of people who had lost hope through many of her programmes, among which are the sickle centres, the free health programmes and her charity works.
Last year, specifically, September 5, 2017, the governor’s wife also, through the pet project, 05 initiative, spent over N2.3million to bail out 13 patients who also could not pay their medical bills at the same hospital.
Those discharged in 2017 but detained for being indebted to the hospital included Chukwunyem Esther, N310, 850, Chukwudi Joshua, N135, 700, Okolie Ifeanyi, N439, 200, Ubong Kingsley, N307, 050, Onwugbolu Sunday, N221, 000, Oki John, 422, 000, Obi Jerry, N216, 350, Obianke Onyisi-Ken, N171, 850, Okoh Patrick, N597, 700 and Edhu Ejiro, N160, 850 with a 20 per cent discount of N596, 510.
Responding, a beneficiary of the September 11, 2018 world charity day, Mrs. Promise Lazarus, expressed happiness over the gesture, noting that the governor’s wife, the people of Delta state and the management of the Federal Medical Centre have been magnanimous to her and other patients.