The wife of the Governor of Delta State and founder of O5 Initiative, Dame Edith Okowa led Deltans in commemorating the 2018 International Day of Charity by paying the hospital bills of 25 indigent patients who were discharged but could not pay their hospital bills at the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.
A total of N5.1million (five million, one hundred thousand naira) donated by good spirited individuals which Dame Okowa used to defray the bills of the patients.
Dame Edith Okowa explained that the Delta State Government had no contribution in the venture saying it was 100 percent the contribution of private and good spirited individuals.
She said the International Day of Charity was instituted by the United Nations on September 5 to commemorate the death of Mother Theresa who worked tirelessly to reach out to the poor, noting that the event was set aside to increase solidarity, social responsibility, volunteerism and public support.
According to Dame Okowa, people have needs and sometimes impossible to get help due to circumstances beyond their immediate control, adding that some with various health concerns could not afford to buy their drugs let alone pay their bills.
She said that the event was not actually to make noise but to raise public awareness on the need for charity work, noting, “Being alive does not necessarily mean we are the best but what we do today is what we will reap tomorrow.”
Dame Okowa urged all Nigerians to give without being necessarily rich to help the needy, adding that giving was a spirit that should be imbibed by all.
The governor’s wife who has been involved in charity works across Delta State, some of which were the free eye care given to Deltans who had suffered from cataract and other eye challenges, said that the event was an opportunity to cash in to contribute to humanity.
She said her driving force in all humanitarian works was a section of the Bible, Matthew Chapter 25: 35-36 which quotes “I was hungry and ye gave me meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me drink, I was a stranger and ye took me in, naked and ye clothed me, I was in prison and ye came to me.”
Dame Okowa commended the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, under the leadership of Dr Victor Osiatuma, whom she said admitted and treated many of the patients without demanding for payment prior to attending to their health challenges.
Chief Medical Director of the FMC, Dr Victor Osiatuma, commended Dame Okowa for her charity works across the state, saying that she had been instrumental in assisting poor patients in the hospital.
He said that she had been putting smiles on the faces of people who had lost hope through many of her programmes, among which are the sickle centres, the free health programmes and her charity works.
Last year, specifically, September 5, 2017, the governor’s wife also, through the pet project, O5 Initiative, spent over N2.3 million to bail out 13 patients who also could not pay their medical bills at the same hospital.
Responding, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs Promise Lazarus, expressed happiness over the gesture, noting that the governor’s wife, the people of Delta State and the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba had been magnanimous to her and other patients.