800 indigents benefit from NAZAS healthcare programme
The unprecedented crowd that thronged the gigantic NASFAT Mosque located in Ikorodu area of Lagos State was overwhelming that Sunday morning. Some had come for prayers while many took the opportunity to benefit from free medical service being sponsored by the NASFAT Agency for ZAKAT and SADAQAT (NAZAS) in collaboration with the Nigeria Islamic Association of Nigeria (IMAN) to give free medical service to the less privileged in the society.
Led by the general manager of NAZAS, Alhaji Abibu Ahmed and Dr. Mustapha Alimi, the beneficiaries were provided with screening treatment, health education and distribution of drugs. And on ground to attend to various medical needs of the beneficiaries were streams of experts including pharmacists, physiotherapists, radiotherapists, medical laboratory scientists, Nurses, midwives, gynaecologists, pediatricians and opticians.
Throwing more light on the activities of his organisation, Ahmed said the aims and objectives of NAZAS include collection of Sakat and Sadaquat from wealthy Muslims and to distribute the same to empower the less privileged.
Other aims, he noted, is collaborating with organisations or individuals of like mind to carry out humanitarian activities that will benefit the masses. “Today, we are providing free health care services to the general public who are close to 800. NASFAT is a large organization and we have about six branches here in Ikorodu such as Ogijo, Owutu, Igbogbo, Ijede and others. Since our organisation started operations in 2014, this is the second time we are rolling out free medical healthcare in collaboration with the Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria (IMAN). The first exercise was carried out during the 21st anniversary of NASFAT, which was done in Lagos. Now, we are doing this as a rotational programme from branch to branch.”
The motive to embark on such humanitarian gesture by his organization, according to him, was borne out of the aims and objectives of taking care of the vulnerable in the society. “We realize that in our society it is not everybody that would be able to afford medical care in private hospitals or can go through the rigours of our health care institutions. The purpose is to bring it to the doorsteps of the people living in rural areas so that they can benefit. Not only that, but for them to know and understand their health status and, in case we discover some health issues that we won’t be able to handle here, we give them referrals to the doctors (some of them are here). Again, as an organization, we will foot the medical bills of those that are beyond the reach.”
Praising NAZAS on its empowerment vision, Ahmed said the organization at the moment is not restricted to healthcare alone. Only last week, in collaboration with Muslim Public Affairs Centre, it dispatched relief materials of slippers and warm clothing to the IDP camp in Borno. Apart from that, it has also identified those who need urgent assistance such as medical and educational bills. Ahmed said once they are identified, they would investigate just to ensure that the hard-earned money of donors do not get into wrong hands.
Corroborating Ahmed, one of the conveners of the programme, Dr. Mustapha Alimi, said both IMAN and NASFAT are interwoven, as the essence is to bring people together for prayers while IMAN mission is to create enlightenment programme to people on how to take care of their health. The whole idea he said is to propagate Islam through health programme. “Let Muslims know that there are medical doctors in Islam and also to encourage our members to aspire to be medical doctors. We give them talk on health and social, educate, enlighten and provide free health services to people. The whole idea is that if we have people who need help we refer them because it is an outreach programme. For me, it has been wonderful touching lives,” he said
In a rather emotional tone, an elderly woman, Hajia Falilat, said she was more than happy. “I am more than happy because when I was checked up I was given drugs. I pray that God will continue to bless the organization. And for the donors, God will continue to enlarge their coasts, they shall never lack the good things of life.”
Though incorporated on January 31, 2014, NAZAS commenced operations in May 2014 with the recruitment of the pioneer general and operations manager, and eight board of directors who are specialists in their fields. The agency was formally launched on June 21, 2014, which coincided with the first day of Ramadan.
Committed to touching lives, the agency swung into action immediately through empowerment and scholarship programmes. The past 235 beneficiaries impacted by NAZAS range from 86 students on educational scholarship support, which cuts across primary, secondary, tertiary, visually impaired, law school and prison inmates. It also embarked on empowerment and business support for 15 persons/SMEs, debts bail-out for six person, health related cases/medical support for 15 persons, business and accommodation support for six converts/reverts to Islam. And presently, 42 students are on regular annual scholarship list.
For the second time running and through its public health initiative, the agency in collaboration with Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria (IMAN) has continued to provide free medical services to the downtrodden in underserved locations across Lagos State.
Rounding off the Ikorodu free medical exercise, Ahmed reiterates the agency commitment of not resting on its oars until poverty is alleviated in the society.