By Olusegun Obisanya
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Oyo Province 4, Ibadan, Oyo State, has partnered with a United Kingdom-based non-governmental organisation, Holistic Global Foundation, to deliver a comprehensive health-focused Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to members of the public, irrespective of one’s religious leaning.
The Pastor in Charge of Oyo Province 4/APICR Region 42, Pastor Rotimi Adegborioye, stated that the commitment of the church to CSR has its root in the Scripture. So, the RCCG is simply following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, who went about ministering to both the physical, spiritual, social and psychological needs of people.
According to him, CSR will be a continuous programme of the church as long as there are needs to be met in the society and host communities where the Church of Christ is situated.
The elated PICP said, “What informed the decision of CSR in RCCG is just on the injunction the Lord Jesus gave, and that is what we are following. And that is what the church has been doing all along. In the olden days, those who have gave to the haves not. That is what we are following in RCCG and that is what the church is doing generally. There is general problem all around, so the little the church can do would be done.
“No matter the amount of wealth you have, if you are not healthy, everything is a waste. There are people on the sick bed praying death should come and take them. There are people who do not know that their health has deteriorated, suddenly such people are on their knees now unable to do anything.
“We decided to do this so people would live a healthy life which starts with what you must do and must not do; what you must eat and must not eat. Many people do not understand what they must do about their life health-wise, we need to come to their aid.
He added, “The CSR initiative of RCCG is not meant for members of RCCG alone but for the whole world. When we talk about CSR, we are talking about a situation whereby the church gives back to the community. What we have done as regard this, because it is a big one, we are collaborating with an NGO from United Kingdom and other professional health workers; it is a mighty one. We have facilities for general treatment, eye treatment and surgery for glaucoma among others.”
He disclosed that various ailments would be attended to by professional medics from the prestigious University College Hospital (UCH) and other health workers. The cleric added that no operation would be carried out in the church as people with special cases such as cataract and glaucoma would be attended to by ophthalmologists, adding that their surgery which had been paid for will be carried out at the UCH.
“Arrangement has been made for between 30 and 40 to carry out surgery on people with glaucoma at University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan,” the cleric remarked.
Expressing gratitude to God and applauding health workers who made their professional services available to members of the public, Pastor Adegborioye, also a Senior Director, Admin, RCCG, explained that most of the logistics were provided by the UK-based organisation. And these included variety of drugs, raw food stuffs, foot wears, clothing among others.
“We also have food items for the people when they are departing. We have other arrangements to give people some other items: clothing, shoes and other things. This is a massive CSR project not for people from this Parish, Province and Region; it is a general programme,” Pastor Adegborioye said.
He continued, “About 90 to 95% of what they have put into it is provided by them. What we have done is to mobilise the people, take off small logistics.”
On Nigeria medical practitioners leaving the country, Adegborioye, who is also the Assistant Pastor in charge of Region 42, posited that the development is a phase while he was optimistic that the ugly development won’t last forever.
He noted, “Whatever that has a beginning would definitely have an end. The brain drain in the country is a phase. The issue of insecurity is a very big one but it is not going to be forever. A lot of people that went abroad in the olden days to study came back. I see it happening in the nearest future. But for insecurity and epileptic power supply, the situation in Nigeria is not completely bad. The cost of living here is far better.
“It is not as if the present administration has not done anything but they missed it somewhere in the area of security. When you go round and see the infrastructure they have put in place, they have tried although it is not pronounced because of insecurity in the land. As a result, those who have opportunity will want to run away.”
The well-attended health programme was carried out at the Provincial headquarters, RCCG Jesus Castle, Oluyole Estate.
Beneficiaries of the exercise who were both men and women included the elderly, middle aged, young adults and teenagers alike.
Earlier, health education was also deployed by the church to deliver health talk bothering on the importance of staying healthy and taking conscious efforts to protect one’s eye from going bad. The educator reeled out factors that are responsible for health breakdown, advising that steps should be taken to consult trained health practitioners for proper treatment, particularly issues relating to the eyes must be treated with levity.
The APICP CSR Oyo Province 4, Pastor Stephen Abiola Adedoyin, said through the CSR activities, various needs of people are met.
Adedoyin said, “CSR actually started from the church. In CSR, we meet peoples’ social needs, housing needs, educational needs, material needs, business needs, economic needs, governance and politics. As a Christian, I can tell you that over 75% of what Jesus did was CSR.
“The health programme is a form of empowerment when you consider the cost of surgery per person for those who have cataract and are pencilled down for surgery at UCH. We have scholarship for needy students who have been identified and genuinely need it.”
According to him, RCCG is sinking a huge sum of money into meeting people’s needs through her CSR programme.
“I can tell you as the head of CSR, this Province alone (Oyo Province 4) spent N7.2 million last month on CSR. We are taking the CSR to a new level of what we call Signature Project that goes beyond the health CSR; more expensive.”
Come January 2023, as the church embarks on “Signature Project,” the head CSR in Oyo Province 4 disclosed that the scope of such programme will be expansive “much more than the health programme because that is the time we give to a lot of people through our different programmes.”
He added, “Our people are in need; our health care system is bad. It is expensive today to treat malaria in Nigeria.”
He called on government to be courageous to do what is right in the area of healthcare delivery across the country, saying Nigeria’s educational system isn’t a bad one at all.
“Our education is not that bad in the country; otherwise, will European countries, United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia be coming to Nigeria to export our medics to their countries. Our education isn’t that bad. What we need in the country is a highly subsidised education. That is what we need in Nigeria, and then we do what is necessary to keep these professionals here.
“If it continues this way, quacks will take over. Government needs to provide necessary facilities for these medical experts,” Pastor Adedoyin enthused.
The Founder, Holistic Global Foundation, Pastor (Mrs) Bunmi Bamgbose, a clinician, said the project being carried out in various countries including Nigeria, began on God’s injunction and directive.
She said, “We project the medical outreach as the first thing to do when we set out 10 years ago. Our NGO, Holistic Global Foundation, started in United Kingdom doing the same thing to impoverished people who cannot help themselves in the area of health.”
Asked on the funding for the project she is passionately committed to, she responded, “For the funding of this project, we don’t get grant from anywhere, we make use of our network. For one cataract extraction, it costs our organisation N65,000 per eye and we have to pay for 30 people. The gift items that were given out today were donated by members of the church.
“We are going to take our medical outreach outside the shores of Nigeria like Ghana. We are going to go to Togo very soon.”
She noted that there are so many reasons to leave Nigeria now because of poor welfare package and inadequate facilities for health workers to work with, saying government needs to make provision for incentives for health workers in the country.
“My advice to the Nigerian government is to set their priority right. It’s alarming the rate at which Nigerian youths are leaving the country. Unfortunately, those countries they are migrating to don’t have the resources Nigeria is endowed with. I won’t blame the migrants,” she said.