By Adebayo Oladejo
It was a moment charged with warm emotions as the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs), Lagos State Chapter, recently paid a courtesy visit and distributed gifts and food items to children at the Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice, Surulere, Lagos.
According to Pharm. Modupe Ologunagba, chairperson of ALPs Lagos, the association chose to visit the centre, which is acclaimed as the first and only children hospice in Nigeria, to show love to the children and to further advise parents in the state and beyond against wrong use of drugs.
“We have discovered that most of the challenges these children are facing were as a result of drug abuse and misuse by their parents” she said.”Meanwhile, they (the children) were helpless in that situation and unfortunately they met themselves in this condition. All we can do is to pray that God gives them the grace to bear the condition and also that God gives them perfect healing from above.”
She added that the association, apart from donating food items, would also ensure that it contributed its professional knowledge and expertise in ensuring that the condition in which most of the children found themselves were improved.
“We have discovered that apart from donating food and material items to these children, we also need to do a lot of health interventions for them because we found out that some of them have issues that has to do with medications and in our own little way, we intend to collaborate with some pharmaceutical organisations and some philanthropy groups so that we can continually support these children with medications that are necessary for them,” she stated.
Ologunagba also used the opportunity to commend the Lagos State government for noticeable improvements in the healthcare sector in the state, especially in the aspect of children health care.
In her own remarks, the national public relation officer of the association, Pharm. (Dr) Ugochinyere Ogudu, disclosed that there was need to pay serious attention to the challenges of drug abuse and misuse in the country.
“Our major challenge as custodians of drugs is the problem of irrational use of drug,” she bemoaned.”Nigerians need proper orientation on how to handle drugs and the rational ways of using drug. Therefore, our association has being doing everything possible to spread the gospel of rational use of drug and, in this regard, we have been to so many secondary schools to educate our young ones on drug use and also to discourage them from the use of hard drugs.”
In a related development, the Lagos State Association of Councils Vice Chairmen from the 20 local governments and 37 local council development associationsin Lagos State, under the name “Conference 57” were also at the hospice to demonstrate their concern for the children. While addressing the ALPs and staff of the hospice, the chairman of “Conference 57”, who also doubles as vice chairman, Mosan–Okunola Local Council Development Association, Hon. Opeyemi Akindele, said the purpose of their visit was to celebrate with the less privileged rather than wasting public funds on jamboree that would not benefit the citizens.
“We also are fathers and mothers,” he observed,”and we also have blood running in our veins and when we were voted in, we made promises that we are going to give back to the society and as well ensure that we sacrifice our time, our money and everything within our power to serve them better. So, what we are doing today is in furtherance of what Senator OluremiTinubu, who also has a foundation that takes care of children is doing.”
Opeyemialso used the opportunity to implore the gathering to always look for ways to assist the government in its developmental efforts. “We should not wait for government to do everything for us but rather we should try in our own way to do something for the society. We should all go back home and have a change of heart and search our consciences and ask ourselves, ‘what have we done to put smiles on the faces of the less privileged?’ We need personalities, we need philanthropists and we need corporate bodies to come to the aid of these children and we pray that God will give us the heart to give.”
While thanking the two visiting groups,founder of the hospice,Mrs LajaAdedoyin, expressed gratitude for their kind gesture towards the children. She noted that the children were always delighted to receive visitors.
“The visit proved enjoyable for the children as they received gifts of food, toiletries and love, and we believethat every human being deserves to be loved because that is what God asks of us ,” she enthused.
The Heart of Gold Children’s Hospicewas founded in 2003 to cater for abandoned and orphaned children suffering from diverse severe congenital, physical and mental disabilities.