Saturday, April 24, 2010

Health: The best gift you can give

K’arale had her first fundraiser to benefit our PortaKlinic Project last Sunday, the 18th of April, 2010. This first project benefits Kuramo especially; a slum community living on the coastline here in Lagos by providing Quality basic health Services through the clinic.

The event was pretty formal and guests; largely made up of family and close friends of K’arale management numbered 30. It was an opportunity to tell a larger audience about our dream of quality health for the poor and how we hope to achieve it.

Kuramo is a community most dear to K’arale. I have written about
them before in an earlier post. There are various articles about Kuramo in the media but  they are mostly negative. Kuramo is described as a den of iniquity where all sorts of moral depravity occur. But the media have never taken into cognizance the living conditions of these people, how they live in unbelievable overcrowded squalor lacking basic infrastructure like sewage disposal system, electricity, water, housing, schools, education, healthcare. For the inhabitants especially the young, survival is attained at all costs and however possible: Child labor, Hawking, Drug peddling, Armed robbery, Prostitution. And who bears it? The rest of the society. Like Professor Folasade Ogunsola quoted, “The Poor cannot sleep because they are hungry, the Rich cannot sleep because the poor are awake”.

And yet Kuramo is not only made up of sex workers, drug addicts and area boys. There are men and women engaged in regular work albeit low paying (which makes better housing unaffordable) with private companies, banks, government offices, private businesses. These men and women live with their families on Kuramo. The community also has elderly people in their 60s and 70s. Some of them are indigenes of the area, most are not.

We are focused on Healthcare delivery because for the poor, the cost of healthcare is disproportionately high relative to their income and access to health care is closely linked to a person’s social status. Chronic non-communicable and communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, intentional and unintentional injuries, tuberculosis, rheumatic heart disease, and HIV infection are recognized to exist in slums because of the late complications of these diseases that the formal health sector sees and deals with[1]
Health services to be provided by the PortaKlinic include basic checkups, acute care (cuts, skin infections, coughs, diarrhea, malaria), pre and post natal care, Immunizations for children, Health education [STDs, hepatitis, TB, high blood pressure, nutrition] & referrals for more specialized care. Moreover we recognize that health is an entry point for development in any community.

We welcomed all the questions and critiques and advice given to us. That was afterall the whole idea of pitching our project with kin and friends. But we were also thankful for the praise we received for the work we have done and are still doing.

A total budget of N3.2m was presented which covers the cost of the PortaKlinic, clinic equipment and running costs for a year in Kuramo. And wonderful people that they are, they have helped raise 33% already. God Bless your generous hearts!

Like I read somewhere, ‘To put feelings into positive action is a powerful antidote for hopelessness’. I think that was what happened to our audience. They say a picture speaks a thousand words; our plea for a PortaKlinic for the community in Kuramo would have been empty if it had not been accompanied by a video of Kuramo and interviews of inhabitants. How could you not give after seeing.

Our Appreciation goes out to Professor Akin & Justice Titi Mabogunje [Distinguished parents of K’arale’s Founder-Professor Folasade Ogunsola], Mr. Olusegun Ogunsola for the free use of AO& Associates’ Conference room; the venue of our event, Sade Cole of Global Space Integrated Communications for designing our lovely brochure, posters and videos, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola (The Chairman, Punch Nig Ltd), Mrs. Toki Mabogunje of TMC, The CEO of Coniah Systems, APIN, The CEO of Integrated Systems and Devices Ltd, Mr. Ola Osibanjo of OR Series Ltd, OSK, Miss Busola Ogunsola of Access Bank, Mrs Ogundeji-Schwitters of Chevron Nig to mention but a few.
This is saying thank you again for making out time from your busy schedules to come. Your contribution and thoughts were greatly appreciated by us.

I guess you can tell that I am excited about everything that happened. We hope to have several other fund-raising events before the year runs out. Our deadline for the launch of the Kuramo Clinic is August 2010. You and I can make it happen…N1 at a time.

I leave you with a quote by Winston Churchill, ‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give’.

[1]  From  Slum Health Diseases of neglected Populations

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