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0'5 Initiative Offset Bills For 23 Stranded Patients

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

The pet project of the wife of the Delta state governor, Dame Edith Okowa, 0'5 Initiative, has rescued 23 patients who were unable to pay their hospital bills at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba.

Dame Okowa came to the rescue of the patients who have spent several months at the hospital after their discharge.

Speaking Thursday, the founder, 0'5 Initiative, Dame Okowa during the 2019 World Charity Day held at the premises of the tertiary health facility admonished Nigerians not to only think of themselves as there are needy people around them.

Represented by the wife of Deputy Governor, Dame Okowa said: "We have the needy around us, some are faced with health concerns and cannot afford to buy drugs or pay their hospital bills. Many children are roaming the streets due to their parent's inability to pay their fees".

She lamented the situation where people rather face their challenges, thereby not paying attention to the poor.

While calling on well-meaning individuals and organizations to come to the aid of the down trodden, she said the International day of charity is not for the 0'5 team alone.

According to her, you may not have so much to give; a word of encouragement and feeding the poor would do a whole lot, saying the occasion calls for the opportunity to raise awareness and provide a platform to carry out charitable work, "that is why we are cashing in to contribute our quota to humanity".

The governor's wife appreciated the management of FMC for partnering 0'5 Initiative and congratulated the beneficiaries who God's grace saw them through.

On his part, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of FMC, Dr. Victor Osiatuma, commended the governor's wife and her team for their charitable works especially her role in the health facility on yearly basis.

"We have on record numerous philanthropic gestures and developmental activities herself and her husband, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa have contributed to the growth of our hospital. They have given massive succour and alleviated the plights of our patients through regular defray of unsettled bills".

He also disclosed that the hospital has also been benefited from several gigantic projects including grant of five hectares of land in Issele-Azagba for the expansion of the hospital.

He recall that in 2017 and 2018, Dame Okowa defrayed the bill for 13 indigent patients totalling N4.5 million and 22 other patients for N5.12 million respectively.

One of the beneficiaries, James Mordi who spoke on behalf of others commended 0'5 Initiative for coming to their rescue.

Speaking in an interview, Mordi, a 23-year-old driver with a new generation bank under contract, disclosed that he has lost his job as a result of the accident.

Mordi, who hails from Onicha-Olona, Aniocha north local government area of the state, while narrating his ordeal, disclosed that a trailer which failed brake ram into them in Lagos on 5th of May 2018.

He revealed that the general hospital in Ikorodu area of Lagos tried their best but could not get positive result which forced him to demand for discharge and subsequent referral to FMC Asaba.

Hear him: "They tried their best in Ikorodu general hospital but they could not. They now referred me here since on 25 of December 2018. So, since then till now I have been here.

"I could not pay, the point was that the leg was really bad, they wanted to amputate the leg but I refused; with God on my side and i have faith in God the leg will be restored and this is where they treated the leg", disclosing that he spent over N350, 000 in Lagos before coming back home".

According to him, he was charged over N812, 000 but was able to offset it to N717, 150, 000 which was settled by the wife of the governor, "I spent almost seven months in Lagos and before my discharge, I spent another seven months here and about three months after my discharge because I could not pay the bills".

He thanked Dame Okowa for her heart of gold and prayed God to bless her while soliciting for more financial assistance as he returns home.