The Rotary Club, through its action group, Rotarians for Family Health & AIDS Prevention (RFHA), offered free medical tests and counselling to Nigerians to mark its annual Rotarian Family Health Days which commenced on May 9th and ran for three days in 70 sites across Lagos and Ogun states. The sites include community halls, hospitals and Rotary Centres.
Sponsored by the Coca Cola Foundation, the outreach is expected to touch the lives of 100,000 people through counselling, testing and vaccination against polio, malaria, diabetes, cholera and other communicable diseases.
Speaking during the official launch that took place at the Rotary Centre, Ikeja, the District Governor-Elect of Rotary Club 9110, Olugbemiga Olowu, described the 3-day event as a comprehensive, holistic offering of healthcare resulting from strategic partnerships in line with Rotary’s commitment to promoting family health and creating awareness around diseases.
“The Rotarian Family Health Day program is about Rotarians taking the lead through a massive health campaign and living their motto of service above self,” he said. “With an estimated 5.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria as at 2011, it became critically important for us to garner support from not only government, but corporate partners and the media to address the problem and implement our prevention control programmes.”
According to Olowu, 900 Rotarians from 62 clubs will be working with trained medical staff on the designated days to deliver services to community dwellers in 70 sites within Lagos and Ogun states.
Coca-Cola reaffirmed its commitment to promoting wellness and building sustainable communities in conjunction with like minded organizations like the Rotary Club. “At Coca-Cola, we always seek ways to empower our communities, focusing on key areas such as water, health, education and entrepreneurship,” said Clem Ugorji, Public Affairs & Communications
Manager. “By investing in these critical areas, we aim to expand opportunities and improve the wellbeing and prosperity of our communities.”
While commending Rotary and Coca-Cola on the initiative, the Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr Olaokun Soyinka, stressed that community based healthcare was becoming increasingly vital to tackling the scourge of diseases in the country. He referred to the Rotary Club as mutual partners with the state government, stating that the partnership was targeted at
taking health care and literacy to the citizens, starting at the community level.
“The country today is currently tasked with responsibility of improving our health rating which has been abysmally poor in the past,” he said. “We in government appreciate initiatives like this from private organizations because it complements our efforts in this regard. The Rotary Family Health Day is an intervention that goes a long way in making preventive healthcare available to those who ordinarily can’t afford it.”
“We have to thank our corporate sponsor and primary strategic partner, Coca Cola for seeing this initiative as a worthy means to leave an enduring legacy in our communities. Over the years, we have also had to count on the immense support of Rotary International, the Lagos and Ogun state
governments, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).”
Toyin Olaniyan, a beneficiary of the initiative, expressed delight at the opportunity. “With this programme, Rotary is giving us rare access to tests and counselling that we don’t get every day,” she said. “They should be commended for reaching out to us with this big community project.”