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Outreach against maternal mortality

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His mother may have died many years ago but her memory still lingers on in the mind of Dr. Adegboyega Akenroye of BalmGilead Life Support, a non- governmental organisation, NGO. Dr Akenroye recently concluded a two-day health awareness and free medical services for residents of Ilutitun, Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State in memory of his late mother, Victoria Aderemilekun Akenroye

According to the Doctor, “My mother lost her life 50 years ago as a result of complications from childbirth and it was challenging growing up without a mother, though my father was supportive,” he explained. Further explaining the circumstances of his mother’s demise 50 years ago, Dr. Akenroye said that his mother was in labour for three days and three nights because the baby was breached and there was no available medical facilities and personnel on time that could have saved both mother and child.

Akenroye, who heads BalmGilead Hospital in Lagos, regrets that 50 years after, maternal mortality rates remain high. Women should not die because they are pregnant and people should get enough information necessary to stop the unnecessary deaths. “That is why we are raising a foundation in remembrance of my mother. It is wrong that many women still die out of ignorance to access the available medical facilities and to utilize them, he said.” He said.

Participants trooped out in their hundreds to the Comprehensive High School, Ilutitun venue of the health outreach as early as 7am to take advantage of the services. About 1000 people came for the free treatment that included check-ups for blood pressure, blood sugar level, BMI, and treatment of various diseases. There were free surgical operations while free medicated eyeglasses were handed out as well. There were also counseling services session.

On the various ailments treated, Akenroye said the medical team encountered different cases. “There were cases needing surgical intervention. We had cases of hernia, infertility, fibroids, and dental cases among others. Many malaria and bacteria infectious cases were also treated. Some have chronic diseases, like arthritis, diabetics, hypertension, insomnia and geriatric diseases and were assisted. A lot of people with high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases were screened, counseled and treated for the first time. This program has helped them to know their health status,” he stated.

He also lamented the ignorance the people live with regarding their health. “There is a major problem while the people are not aware of what the hospitals have in stock. We had to educate them about medical facilities we have brought. Many in the community had problem with going to hospitals to get information about their health and available health provisions.

Dr Akenroye recalled how his mother died young because of delay in accessing medical facilities. “She was in labour for three days and three nights because they could not even transport her to where to get medical assistance. Even when she was eventually transported to the general hospital, the only doctor had travelled. She had to wait for another 24 hours to get the emergency treatment she needed. However, despite a surgical intervention, she lost her life due to post-operative complications.’’

“Unfortunately, even 50 years after, according to the statistics available there are about 5,000 mothers that still die after child birth last year and those were the ones reported.’’
Also helping at the health outreach was a retired Chief Medical Consultant at the Ondo State Specialist Hospital Akure, Dr. Manuwa Idowu Akenroye and Dr Ilesami Ogunsuyi, the director of Medical services at the Federal Prisons in Ondo State.

The Consultant and uncle to the initiator of the project added that, “Dr. Akenroye’s mother died during childbirth when he was a little boy. “Fortunately, I was with him, I know all the story and when he turned around and told me he wants to do this I said that is a good thought and I wish him well.

“The program is about preventing mothers and children from dying. To me if we can dedicate a day every year to remember this woman with this kind of event, it is worth it.” He said.”
Mrs. Monisola Akenroye, accountant and wife of the initiator of the project who was deeply involved in the planning, expressed satisfaction and fulfillment at the success of the outreach. “I feel fulfilled. I know that what we are doing now is exactly what God really wants us to do.

This is not the first outreach but this is the first major one because we have had series of outreaches in America where we raised fund for children living with cancer. We have also raised fund for St. Joseph’s home, a motherless babies home, and for abandoned mothers homes. We have been doing it in our small ways but this is the first major outing and we are thrilled about the outcome’. She promised that it would henceforth be a regular event.

On the NGO’s future plan, she revealed that, “What we intend to do is to put up a mother and child health centre. Not really a full-fledged hospital but somewhere they can get them information awareness on what is going on. Majorly we intend to have an ambulance service so that in case of emergency they can easily use it to move people around to the nearest hospital.”

One of the beneficiaries Mrs. Grace Daso, 75, a retired teacher expressed appreciation for the initiative. “I thank the organisers for this kind gesture. I have been battling an eye defect and this is coming at the right time,” she said, adding that, “I am a lay reader in church and that was why I made sure I got here early enough because I am also officiating at the church program in honour of Doctor Akenroye’s late mother,” she said.
In all, about a thousand participants were registered and attended to including those in need of surgeries who were operated upon at the outreach.

One of the patients treated was Success Akindoju, a two-year old boy who has a congenital bilateral corneal opacity, a condition of the eye that causes total blindness.
The remembrance events which was kick-started with a thanksgiving and launch of the Victoria Aderemelekun Akenroye Foundation on November 12 (including the launch of her biography titled The Ultimate Sacrifice at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (Grace Sanctuary) in Lagos, followed by the medical outreach, climaxed with a two –day gospel crusade at Ilutitun.
For Akenroyes, it was an absolutely glorious way to remember a beloved mother and save thousands more at-risk women and fellow humans.

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Mum & Parenting

More than 100,000 children die from cancer daily

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Many years since it has been identified as one of the deadliest medical conditions the world has seen, cancer remains so potent that it is now responsible for the deaths of thousands of children across the world. This was revealed last Wednesday by the founder and president of Children Living with Cancer Foundation (CLWF), Dr Nneka Nwobi during an event commemorating the International Day of Children Living with Cancer for 2018.

At the event titled ‘Colors of Hope Sit Out’ and held at Relate Africa in Lagos, Dr Nwobi, while offering a background concerning the purpose of the event, said: “Today is February 15 and the day is the International Day of Children Living with Cancer every year and this sit-out is basically to celebrate the day and to create awareness about cancer in children as we look for ways to increase the cure rate in the country. Unfortunately, the cure rate for Nigeria is not fantastic; we have children dying from cancer every day. More than 10 children die as a result of cancer every day.”

According to her, the Child Cancer International (CCI) estimates that up to 100,000 Children die needlessly each year from cancer worldwide because they lack access to optimal treatment. This is about 250 children per day and more than 10 children per hour, with most of the children in sub-Saharan Africa. “Abroad, 8 out of 10 children would survive being struck with cancer but here in Nigeria, less than 2 out of 10 children survive. That is about 20% cure rate here in Nigeria as opposed to 80% in more developed countries of the world,” Nwobi added.

Speaking as members of a panel put together at the event, Mrs Adenike Ogunlesi, Janet Mba-Afolabi and Chief Mrs B. M Fadipe, condemned the state of facilities in Nigeria while they called on government and individuals to show more concern.

“Gone are the days when we used to think cancer was a medical condition for Caucasians as a result of their lifestyles but it is a trend that leadership in Nigeria does not acknowledge. Nigerians leaders do not accept that we have even the most basic of needs to survive in this country. Leadership should not be about you; it is about service to humanity and so CSR is not optional. We must raise a generation that teaches children how to care about other children,” Mrs Ogunlesi, founder and Chief Responsibility Officer of popular Ruff ‘N’ Tumble, said during her remarks.

On her own, Mrs B. M Fadipe, Directress of Pinefield Schools in Lekki, Lagos, who said she met Dr Nwobi 5 years ago through her son, said: “I was shocked to learn of cancer in children. She gave us statistics and we have been in contact since then. There are many things we can do to get involved when it comes to CSR and schools can really do a lot, organisations supporting fashion shows and entertainment shows like Big Brother Naija for instance, can do a lot to support in the area of fighting cancer in children.”

Like the other two, Janet Mba-Afolabi, a foremost journalist, said she was shocked to learn that cancer is affecting children also.
“I have had a first-hand case of a friend who died of breast cancer. We were covering Marwa together at Alausa and she came to confide in me. It was small like a pimple like this but it started growing and we started running around for money,” she said while relating the trauma associated with cancer in adults, let alone in children.

Afolabi further spoke on the essence of using the mass media and social media towards creating more awareness for the project, saying events without media exposure is deemed not to have occurred.
Also speaking at the event was Dr Seye Akinsete, who works with children with cancer at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Cancer, according to him, drains victims in many ways, not forgetting the financial and psychological scar it leaves on relatives of the children, either they eventually survive or die. He said along with members of his team, they have had to deal with cases of 179 children living with cancer in the last 30 months.

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Mum & Parenting

Police, please arrest my son!

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I was doing school runs one morning and after I had watched my son walk into the school building, I went to the admin office to discuss some issue with the head teacher. I waited for a while as she scolded a pupil in upper primary class who had been reported to her for misbehavior, “I will call Police for you”, she threatened. “No, not police, it’s the army I will call to come and carry you away! Do you know the army?” She asked and the boy nodded as his eyes went from the head teacher to the floor.

I smiled watching his reaction to the threat, apparently not moved. I had to wait for the boy to leave the office and then I asked what the poor boy had done to be threatened with police and solider. I found it hilarious. I had expected the head teacher to laugh it off too, but surprisingly she didn’t, she wasn’t laughing about it at all. She said the father of the boy had actually taken him to the police station asking the police to arrest the boy. And so she had to mention army just in case the boy was no longer afraid of the police.

I couldn’t help but have a good laugh…but I recovered quickly, it wasn’t a laughing matter at all. What on earth would make a parent take a 9 year old to the police station to be arrested? It sounded like a joke. And where was the mum anyway? I think the parent should be the ones to be arrested don’t you think?

Even if the intention was to put some fear into the boy, taking him to the police station, said one thing loud and clear: the parents have lost control and so also has the school, and now they need the police and possibly the army to intervene? And we are talking about the two foremost institutions for instilling value and discipline into our children? What a shame!

What could the child have done wrong to warrant police intervention? The head teacher explained that on a number of occasions they have had to invite the boy’s parents to the school to discuss issues involving the boy. And even the parents had shared their frustrations and helplessness dealing with the boy, and again I ask, a nine-year-old?

Could it be the little boy has some negative influence from the home environment, maybe some elder ones who are a bad influence? Surprisingly he happens to be the first child. Could it be domestic staff, neighbours, friends, the screen (media), and lapses on the part of the parents? Sigh.

I finished my business at the school and left but the thought of the boy lingered in my heart. This family certainly needs help and so does the larger society.

I remember listening to the very popular American televangelist, John Hagee and his message was directed to today’s parents, particularly those of us who choose to spare the rod and spoil the child. He said the beautiful bundles of joy in our loving arms, could turn out to become monsters if we fail in our roles to train them in the way of the Lord. It sounds rather unpleasant, but it is the truth.

We have a God-given responsibility to bring forth children into this world, to nurture them and instill the right values into them so they can grow to become responsible citizens and contribute positively to the society, anything short of this, we would have failed and should be ‘arrested by the police!’

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Mum & Parenting

Letter to mom on valentine’s day

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I found this piece of love note written by Sarah Skinner to her mom ( of blessed memory). She says, “Love from mom is one of the best things a girl can ever have.” I hope this little piece inspires us to build loving relationships with our daughters – our kids. Enjoy!

Dear Mom,
Happy Valentine’s Day! I just wanted to let you know that no matter how old I get, I won’t stop finding special ways to let you know how much I love you, and I will try my best to get especially creative on holidays such as these. Some people find the excess of candy and stuffed animals that fill the stores this time of year annoying, but we’ve always enjoyed the displays. Hell will surely freeze over before the day comes that one of those adorable teddy bears won’t be purchased as a “just because” gift. How can someone not be happy with something soft to hug?

There’s always a lot of bitterness that is floating around during this time of year, especially about relationship status. I think many people must have forgotten the days of childhood when Valentine’s Day was a day we all showed our classmates a little love, indiscriminately. No doubt, it is a great feeling to have a romantic Valentine, but there is so much more to love than just the romantic aspects of it.

I’d like to take the time to thank you, mom — to thank you for letting me know what it feels like to be unconditionally loved. Your love has served as my rock for as long as I can remember, keeping me grounded and giving me the confidence I needed to shoot for the stars. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, you help me see the situation from a different (and more manageable) perspective. Whenever I’m feeling vulnerable, you remind me of my value. No matter what holes I’ve managed to fall into, you’ve always helped me see the light and find the strength to climb out.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you are a cheerleader who always tells me what I want to hear; you will tell it like it is, and you are always honest with me. If you don’t have a good feeling about a guy I’m with, you won’t hesitate to tell me. But, when that same guy stands me up on a date, you won’t mock me with an “I told you so,” but rather, you will greet me with a “you look too good not to go somewhere.” Knowing what it feels like to be loved like that is an indescribably beautiful experience. You showed me the correct way someone is supposed to be loved.

I remember when we first started watching “Gilmore Girls” together. Man, was that our show. What made it comical was how similar our relationship was to that portrayed in the show. Everyone else in our lives saw it too. I’m able to (and want to) tell you everything because I know you never judge me and you always find a way to help me understand my life a bit better.

We hang out a lot because we always find a way to have an awesome time together and the conversations between us never cease.
A relationship like that comes once in a life time and our bond has never been out of any sort of blood obligation. If I had the choice of who my mother would be, I would choose you a million times over. I am thankful for our relationship, and I will never be too old to give you a Valentine’s Day shout out.

With love,
Sarah.

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