Families and and persons affected by Leprosy were beneficiaries of free medical care and drugs at the Alabarago Lepers’ Community in Ojo, Lagos at the weekend.
God’s Love Ministries, in collaboration with The Fount of Love Foundation, led a team of doctors for a medical outreach to the Lepers’ Community on Sunday.
The medical intervention was the first of its kind recorded at the community of sick and malnourished citizens living in abject poverty, despite their close proximity to Africa’s largest electronics market, Alaba International Market.
Speaking with journalists during the outreach, the Coordinator of God’s Care Ministries, Pastor Maria Olatunji stated that the gesture is a demonstration of God’s love, even as she charged the neighboring community, business tycoons and local government to respond to the cries of the lepers.
“This is an avenue to help people who have nothing to give in return. When I heard about this lepers community, I was overwhelmed with concern eventhough I wasn’t in the country at the time. I made up my mind to visit this community at my next opportunity to be in Nigeria.”
“I learnt that one of their basic needs is medical attention. Some of them don’t have slippers, among other basic things of life. Although we don’t have someone sponsoring our foundation, I took it up as a personal responsibility to get doctors to this community for provide free medical care,” she said.
Olatunji, however, admonished the business persons and residents in the Alaba market and environs to prioritize the care and welfare of the lepers community, expressing displeasure that the jettisoned citizens are living within a thriving business city.
“Alaba International Market is a billion-dollar market and it is saddening that they can have a neighboring community of lepers and do nothing to care for them. When the bible talks about being your brother’s keeper, this is an area the business moguls in the Alaba market could reach out with little drops of their wealth,” she explained.
According to her, the Alaba business environment and residents are incubating huge health and environmental threats by ignoring the lepers community.
“Everyone has a right to live a basic life, but these people are living way below the poverty line. This isn’t life. I’m also calling on the local government and state government to do something to alleviate the sufferings of this community,” Olatunji stressed.
Also speaking, the Founder of The Fount of Love Foundation, Mrs. Shola Onyekweli disclosed that her NGO has been visiting the lepers community for a decade.
Onyekweli noted that her team successfully constructed a borehole and provided generators to address the challenge of water supply in the community.
“I don’t have to be Hausa or a Muslim to help these people. We have been trying to see the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to draw his attention to the needs of this community. There are over 1000 children here who aren’t in school.”
“Over the years, we have sought to empower the community with grinding machines, perfumes and other items to sell and earn income. We are trying to instil a culture of value addition and enterprise in them,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Head of the Medical Team, Dr. Gift Osakue observed that medical checks conducted during the exercise indicated that most of the residents have multiple infections and ailments.
“Besides the leprosy, the community is situated in a very dirty area. This is actually a dumpsite for waste and it shouldn’t be a residential environment. We also observed that the lepers aren’t on any medication. There is a specific medication for lepers and government should be able to reach out with proper medication for the lepers.”
“Most of the residents are malnourished and have skin infections, especially their children. Most of them are in need of serious medical care at the hospitals,” Dr. Osakue said.