It was a happy moment when three physically-challenged persons in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, received wheelchairs from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The gesture was part of the mandates of the Corps Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers (HIRD) designed to provide quality health care services for the less-privileged and the physically-challenged, particularly in the rural communities.
The wheelchairs were presented to the beneficiaries at the HIRD programme held at Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
The three beneficiaries, Steve Okejide, (male) and two females namely Aishat Maroof and Omolara Adebusayo emerged through an open balloting among eight persons who vied for the wheelchairs.
However, the sum of N27, 250, raised at the programme was shared equally among the eight physically-challenged for their upkeep. The presentation ceremony was witnessed by the Oyo State Coordinator of the NYSC, Mrs. Ifeoma Anidobi, top NYSC officials, corps members and some physically-challenged individuals who were accompanied by their friends and relations.
The Head of Local Government Administration, Ibadan South East Local Government Area, Mrs. Victoria Akinpelu, represented the caretaker chairman of the council, Alhaji Teslim Ajimobi.
Mrs. Anidobi said the aims and objectives of HIRD were “to sensitise the rural dwellers to the dangers of some common ailments and preventable diseases, to diagnose and also treat rural people in selected communities who are suffering from one illness or the other.”
She stressed that the gesture was also aimed at providing first aid services for minors on peculiar ailments and provide free screening services on HIV, hepatitis and sickle cell anaemia, among others, adding that stakeholders in the health sector contributed immensely to make the objectives achievable.
She said: “To make the programme achieve its full objectives, various stakeholders in the health sector, corporate entities, non-governmental organisations; global agencies such as World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and regional bodies such as United States Agency for International Development (USAID) were contacted to assist in areas of drug donation, logistic supplies, enlightenment talks and rural health shows.
“The programme had been carried out in all the states of the federation and has also received positive media publicity and response from rural dwellers. To add more value to our society and to improve the well-being of the citizens, the present Director-General of the scheme, Brig-General Sule Kazaure decided to bring health relief to the residents of Ibadan South East Local Government Area, even as he directed that a wheel chair each be distributed to the three physically-challenged for easy mobility.”
The corps members serving in Ibadan South East Local Government Area, however, adopted one of the three beneficiaries, Aishat Maroof.
Miss Bukola Olayode, who spoke on behalf of the corps members, said Aishat was adopted because she is already in a primary school. The gesture was aimed at lifting financial burden off the shoulders of her grandmother, who has been taking care of her since Aishat’s mother died.
Olayode said the adoption would cover all educational expenses of Aishat, adding that the leadership of NYSC were involved so that the gesture would not stop for Aishat when the present set of corps members pass out of the scheme.
Mrs. Akinpelu, on behalf of the council’s chairman, appreciated the NYSC for the gesture, describing the event as significant.
She added that giving to the underprivileged in the society is a humanitarian service that should be continuous.