*Over 3500 Beneficiaries. *35 Eye Surgeries. *310 Free Eye Glasses
*200 Bags Of Rice. *200 Bottles Of Power Oil. *6 Sewing Machines. *Harvest of Miracles, Over 35 Souls Won For Christ
By Ken Asinobi
The George Izunwa Foundation (GIF)’s Free Medical Programme has achieved tremendous success in Bakana community of Degema Local Government Area in Rivers State, providing healthcare services to about 3,520 individuals in need.
The 3-day event, which has left a profound impact on the beneficiaries, evoked feelings of joy, relief, and gratitude.
As a renowned nonprofit and non governmental organization dedicated to promoting access to healthcare and educational scholarships in Nigeria, GIF brought together a team of dedicated doctors, nurses, Pharmacists, Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, Dentists, Lab Technicians and Physiotherapists, as well as pastors from Gateway International Church, to cater to the healthcare and spiritual needs of the residents of Bakana and its surroundings in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The event which held on Wednesday, June 14 to Friday, June 16, 2023, was aimed to address the healthcare needs of the underprivileged residents of Bakana.
Buoyed by the presence of the Founder and Co-Founder of GIF, Pastors George and Manuela Izunwa, the event proved to be a resounding success, making significant impact on the well-being of people of Bakana community and environs.
During the programme, a wide range of medical services were offered, including eye surgeries, general health check-ups, immunizations, consultations, dental care, eye examinations, and distribution of essential medications. The medical team worked tirelessly, ensuring that every person received the care they required.
It was praise galore from the founder of the GIF, Pastor George Izunwa for the gallant team of volunteers and the workforce from Gateway International Church.
Pastor Izunwa in his opening remarks emphasized the need to be a blessing and uplift the virtues of giving back to the society.
He said: “The George Izunwa Foundation is not Gateway International Church; Gateway Church did not put one Naira into this Foundation.
“This is between me and my wife and a few persons that stand with me. God has blessed us so we’re happy to be a blessing”
Addressing journalists at Bakana shortly after the end of the 3-day exercise on Friday, Coordinator of the GIF, Engr. Chike Nwonodi lauded the success of the programme which he said recorded 35 eye surgeries with a total of 310 eye glasses given to patients to enhance their vision.
Nwonodi said the success of the GIF Free Medical Outreach served as a testament to the importance of humanitarian-driven initiatives and the power of collective efforts in improving healthcare accessibility, adding that the programme has left a lasting impression on Bakana community, fostering a sense of hope and gratitude among the residents.
He stated that the impact of the medical mission extended beyond immediate healthcare services, as community members also had the opportunity to receive 200 bags of rice, 200 bottles of the popular Power Oil and 6 sewing machines, as startup for some indigent tailors.
In addition, Engr. Nwonodi disclosed that over 70 volunteers drawn from Gateway International Church (GIC) and 25 from Bakana community, participated in the exercise, carrying out health education sessions, where the beneficiaries received valuable information about disease prevention, hygiene practices, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, hoping that the knowledge garnered will empower individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being in the future.
The GIF Coordinator gave kudos to the Founder/Co-Founder of the GIF and others for a successful event.
“Special thanks must go to our Papa and Mama for this phenomenal impact to Bakana Community. I would equally thank the super medical team led by Dr. Vivian Laurent-Ordu; the Sounds/IT team led by Pastor George Peter; Protocol led by Bro Anderson Amadi; Pulpit presentation led by Wendy Aguma; media advert anchored by our GIC branded OAPs- Jetta (of Cool/Wazobia/Nigeria Info fm) and Oluremi Olu Akerele of AIT, GIC Bakana House Church and Outreach team led by Pastor Nath Ulolegbu and Pastor Ikechukwu Chikwe respectively, and the GIF team, not forgetting the entire pastorate and leaders for their support and prayers. Gracias!”.
One of the volunteers who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the GIF Free Medical Programme was an incredible opportunity to give back to the community and make a real difference in the lives of the people in Bakana, adding “We were thrilled to see the number of people who benefited from our services and left with improved health and renewed
Meanwhile, some of the beneficiaries have expressed their appreciation for the medical mission’s efforts to improve their well-being.
“My name is Gladys Amachree. I feel well, I feel very happy. This food stuff is going to give me a life in Jesus name! Amen”, another beneficiary declared.
Christiana Lolo Jackreece, a widow who benefitted, exclaimed, “I cannot thank Pastor George Izunwa and his wife, Manuela enough for bringing this medical outreach to our community. Many of us could not afford medical treatments, but today we received the care we desperately needed. It’s indeed a blessing!”
Agnes Tamuno, a mother of two, shared her heartfelt gratitude, saying, “I brought my children here for vaccinations and check-ups. The doctors and nurses were so kind and attentive. They explained everything to me and made me feel at ease. I’m relieved that my children are healthy.”
Similarly, Mr. ThankGod, an elderly community member, expressed, “I’ve been struggling with dental issues for a long time, but I couldn’t afford treatment. Thanks to the GIF, I received dental care and my pain has significantly reduced. I’m immensely grateful for this opportunity.”
Mr. Tobin, a visually impaired individual, shared his experience, saying, “I had an eye examination at the medical outreach, and they provided me with prescription glasses. Now, I can see clearly again! It’s like a new lease on life for me. I’m so thankful.”
A local community leader, Deacon Braide, in the same vain, spoke on behalf of the residents, stating, “The GIF Free Medical Outreach has brought hope to our community. We often struggle with limited access to healthcare services, but this initiative has shown us that there are people who care about our well-being. We are immensely grateful.”
Similarly, six individuals from the Bakana community expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the Foundation for providing them with sewing machines. They include Obene Diekramabo Frank, Bateinm Jackreece, Ere Sagbe, Miesimabia Soberekon. Stella Dan Obu and Prayeerba Darego.
In separate interviews, beneficiaries of the free eye surgeries echoed their appreciation to the Foundation for the restoration of vision and transformation of their lives.
“I had been suffering from cataracts for years, and it had severely impacted my daily life. But thanks to the GIF Free Medical Mission, I underwent a successful cataract surgery. Now, I can see the world clearly again, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude.”
“My vision was deteriorating due to glaucoma, and I was concerned about the possibility of going blind. The medical mission provided me with timely treatment and saved my eyesight. I am so thankful to the GIF for giving me a second chance.”
“I had been struggling with a retinal detachment, and it was affecting my ability to see clearly. The medical mission not only diagnosed my condition but also performed a successful retinal
surgery. I am forever indebted to the GIF for their exceptional care.”
“For years, I had been living with a drooping eyelid that obstructed my vision. Thanks to the skilled surgeons at the GIF Free Medical Mission, I underwent eyelid surgery, and now I can see the world with open eyes. I want to thank the GIF for the gift of sight.”
“I had been wearing thick glasses for a long time due to my high myopia. The medical mission provided me with the opportunity to undergo refractive surgery, and now I no longer rely on glasses. I am so grateful to the GIF for this life-altering experience.”
These elated beneficiaries are just a few examples of the many lives that were transformed through the GIF Free Medical Programme as the mission has not only improved their day-to-day activities but also given them renewed hope and a brighter future.
Obviously, the George Izunwa Foundation is humbled by the gratitude expressed by these beneficiaries. Their success stories further motivate the organization to continue their mission of free medical services and changing lives in under served communities.