For the people of Apata Ibadan, the Oyo State capital and its environs, the message brought to them by Faithful Stewards Medical and Educational Foundation Team otherwise known as FASTMED Team, an international medical personnel team and a non-profit organisation based in the United States of America was one that would remain close to their hearts for a long time.
When the team of medical experts drawn from different health institutions across the state arrived at Faithful Stewards Christian Centre, Apata, venue of the free medical consultation and treatment, no fewer than 500 people were on ground to receive free medical treatment. The excitement on their faces could be felt as they interacted with the experts, sharing their medical challenges and getting instant response and treatment.
Market women, traders, aged men and children, who have battled with one ailment or the other, came in droves to the venue with enthusiasm for the three-day exercise, which started on Wednesday, September 28 and ended on Friday, September 30.
Each day started with a health talk that focused majorly on the right diet for the body and avoidance of self-prescription.
The free treatment included eye checks and free eye glasses, blood pressure, sugar level and general medical screening.
With five doctors and 10 nurses, some of the beneficiaries who spoke with Nigerian Tribune were full of praises for the FASTMED team. According to them, the exercise could not have come at a better time, especially for the aged who said their health had been deteriorating because they could not afford hospital bills.
One Mr Ariyo, who has almost lost his sight due to self prescription of drugs occasioned by lack of financial assistance, said he had been battling with poor sight for three years.
“I am happy about this exercise because with what I have been told in the last three days and the kind of attention I have received, I believe my eyes will get better. I have seen a tremendous change in the last three days and I have FASTMED to thank for this,” he said.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune on their vision, President of FASTMED Chaplain, Dr Stephen Olujimi, said he received the vision to go into humanitarian services from God. “I am a pastor and in 1990, the Lord called me out of regular church pastoring and gave me a vision of caring and helping the needy. This is not about something that you just wake up and do, it is a vision from God and we have to follow God’s instructions. We used to be known as Refuse Temple and this has been going on about 20 years in Nigeria. We launched the Ibadan branch in 1998 and since then, we have been involved in different programmes. We have done micro-financing in the past and some few trainings and empowerment. We came in with the capacity to handle as many people that turn up.”
Asked how the organisation has been sourcing for funds to keep the mission going, Dr Olujimi said it has been hard getting to source for funds, adding that “It has been hard raising funds but God has been faithful. My wife and I are based in the US, so we have our little business and draw from our resources to cater for these people. That’s our own way of giving back to our community, but we believe that as we continue to let people see what we are doing, helpers would join the cause, so that we can do more.
He added further that “the vision is to build a formidable, compassionate network of rural and emergency medical team in the world and to engage in rural medical work and emergency medical services in countries of operation.”
The next programme is set to hold in Osun State in the coming weeks where free medical treatment and empowerment progamme that is geared towards making people in the rural areas to be more self-reliant.