A pressure group of the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, settled the bills of 40 patients who were on admission in the popular Kubwa General Hospital in the Federal Capital Territory.
The initiative, which received a loud ovation, was conducted in the presence of the Medical Director, Dr. Lasisi Muyideen and some hospital’s matrons.
Addressing newsmen after they left the paediatric and maternity wards, Convener of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Vanguard, Shola Olofin, said the outreach, which was christened BAT Cares, was kicked off in July.
Olofin further disclosed that the vision was to cater for the downtrodden, especially critically-ill patients on admission who could not afford to pay bills for good healthcare.
He said, “The BAT Vanguard are here for the purpose of providing outreach for the downtrodden, especially critically-ill patients on admission who cannot afford to pay bills for good healthcare.
“We understand the plights the less privileged are passing through and would appreciate all the support they can get. This is why we are here.
“Of course, we are well acquainted with Asiwaju’s antecedents on the issue of healthcare. This is one of the reasons our members are encouraged to visit general and national hospitals across the country including the Federal Capital to show empathy and financial assistance for patients on admission.”
The team, which was led on inspection of the paediatric and maternity wards by some matrons and the chief medical director attended to over 23 patients including pregnant women who were each handed an envelope containing money to clear their medical bills.
Defending the need to hand the cash directly to patients, Olofin disclosed that they wanted to avoid the familiar sob stories of how money disbursed did not get to the targeted beneficiaries.
“We have so far attended to 40 patients in National Hospital and Kubwa General Hospitals alone,” he said.
His position was shared by National Women leader of BAT Vanguard, Dr Esther Etuk, who told our correspondent that the motivation behind the initiative was spurred by Tinubu’s show of love for less privileged Nigerians, especially at the grassroots level.
Etuk stated that the action of the former governor of Lagos reflected in the number of PHCs and general hospitals that he had helped refurbished and brought to world-class standard in Lagos.
She said, “Before giving out the donation, we often have one-to-one interaction with these patients to know their ailments and their financial capacity. The ones we have given so far were the ones we are so sure don’t have any means of offsetting their bills.
“The CMD and the matrons in those ones have also identified and shown us the ones who don’t even have anybody coming to check on them at all.
“In fact, there was a particular ward we entered and saw pre-term babies who were delivered after 29 weeks. Unfortunately, the mother and these children on admission are both battling for life. That was really touching. This is why we believe in this kind of situation, the money we give will go a long way in settling her bills.”
Asked on why they settled for general hospitals mainly, she said it is the biggest place in the health sector one is bound to meet financially-challenged patients who struggle to access health care.
“Of course, we know those who frequent private hospitals are comfortable and can afford the service. That is why we don’t add such facility in our list for outreach,” she said.
Applauding the gesture of the delegation, the Medical Director of Kubwa General Hospital told journalists the party had demonstrated what show of love and selfless service should look like.
“I am really impressed with the laudable programme BAT Vanguard has done in the hospital today. This is an exemplary demonstration of leadership. With what we have witnessed today, I can say so many lives have been touched whether directly or indirectly.
“We hope this initiative can be sustained in future. This is not the first time we will be having this though. Often, our welfare department receives people with similar vision that show commitment and make donation for patients to overcome their predicament,” he stated.